Etymology
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cur (n.)

c. 1200, curre, a term, usually depreciatory, for a dog, earlier kurdogge; used of vicious dogs and cowardly dogs, mastiffs and terriers, probably from Old Norse kurra or Middle Low German korren both meaning "to growl" and echoic of a growling dog. Compare Swedish dialectal kurre, Middle Dutch corre "house dog." Meaning "surly, low-bred man" is from 1580s.

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currish (adj.)

"like a cur, snarling, snappish," c. 1500, from cur + -ish. Related: Currishly; currishness.

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curmudgeon (n.)

"churlish, miserly fellow, mean man," 1570s, of unknown origin. The suggestion, based on a misreading of a garbled note from Johnson, that it is from French coeur mechant "evil heart" is not taken seriously; nor is the notion [in Century Dictionary] that it is a corruption of corn merchant (with the notion of "one who withholds food"). The first syllable may be cur "dog." Liberman says the word "must have been borrowed from Gaelic (and references muigean "disagreeable person"), with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-. Related: Curmudgeonly.

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ragtag (n.)
also rag-tag, "ragged people collectively," 1820, from rag (n.) + tag (n.); originally in expression rag-tag and bobtail "the rabble" (tag-rag and bobtail is found in 1650s), with bobtail an old 17c. word for "cur." Tag and rag was "very common in 16-17th c." [OED]
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tyke (n.)
late 14c., "cur, mongrel," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse tik "bitch," from Proto-Germanic *tikk- (source also of Middle Low German tike). Also applied in Middle English to a low-bred or lazy man. The meaning "child" is from 1902, though the word was used in playful reproof from 1894. As a nickname for a Yorkshireman, from c. 1700; "Perhaps originally opprobrious; but now accepted and owned" [OED].
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mastiff (n.)

large, powerful breed of dog, apparently dating to ancient times, valued as a watch-dog, mid-14c., from Old French mastin "great cur, mastiff" (Modern French mâtin) or Provençal mastis, both of which probably are from Vulgar Latin *mansuetinus "domesticated, tame," from Latin mansuetus "tame, gentle" (see mansuetude). The etymological sense, then, would be a dog that stays in the house, thus a guard-dog or watchdog. The form in English perhaps was influenced by Old French mestif "mongrel."

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pseudo-science (n.)

also pseudoscience, "a pretended or mistaken science," 1796 (the earliest reference is to alchemy), from pseudo- + science.

The term pseudo-science is hybrid, and therefore objectionable. Pseudognosy would be better etymology, but the unlearned might be apt to association with it the idea of a dog's nose, and thus, instead of taking "the eel of science by the tail," take the cur of science by the snout; so that all things considered we had better adopt the current term pseudo-sciences ["The Pseudo-Sciences," in The St. James's Magazine, January 1842]
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amicus curiae 
1610s, Latin, literally "friend of the court;" plural is amici curiae. From Latin amicus "friend," related to amare "to love" (see Amy) + curia "court" (see curia). A person not interested or employed in a cause who wishes to make a suggestion to the court.
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curious (adj.)

mid-14c., "subtle, sophisticated;" late 14c., "eager to know, inquisitive, desirous of seeing" (often in a bad sense), also "wrought with or requiring care and art;" from Old French curios "solicitous, anxious, inquisitive; odd, strange" (Modern French curieux) and directly from Latin curiosus "careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome," akin to cura "care" (see cure (n.)).

The objective sense of "exciting curiosity" is by 1715 in English. In booksellers' catalogues, the word was a euphemism for "erotic, pornographic" (1877); such material was called curiosa (1883), the Latin neuter plural of curiosus. Related: Curiously; curiousness. Curiouser and curiouser is from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865).

Curious and inquisitive may be used in a good or a bad sense, but inquisitive is more often, and prying is only, found in the latter. Curious expresses only the desire to know; inquisitive, the effort to find out by inquiry; prying, the effort to find out secrets by looking and working in improper ways. [Century Dictionary]
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curlew (n.)

"type of grallatorial bird with a long, slender, curved bill," mid-14c., curlu, from Old French courlieu (13c., Modern French courlis), said to be imitative of the bird's cry but apparently assimilated with corliu "runner, messenger," from corre "to run," (from Latin currere "to run, move quickly," from PIE root *kers- "to run"). The bird is a good runner. In Middle English the word sometimes also meant "quail," especially in Bible translations.

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