• Curl


    • UK IPA: /kəːl/
    • US IPA: /kɝl/
    • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)l


    From metathesis of Middle English crulle.

    Full definition of curl



    (plural curls)
    1. A piece or lock of curling hair; a ringlet.
      • 1866, Louisa May Alcott, , chapter 7:...she took it down, looked long and fondly at it, then, shaking her curls about her face, as if to hide the act, pressed it to her lips and seemed to weep over it in an uncontrollable paroxysm of tender grief.
      • 1910, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price Chapter 1, Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes....She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 17, The face which emerged was not reassuring. . He was not a mongol but there was a deficiency of a sort there, and it was not made more pretty by a latter-day hair cut which involved eccentrically long elf-locks and oiled black curls.
    2. A curved stroke or shape.
      • 1995, John Curtis, Julian Reade, & Dominique Collon, Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum‎, page 184:... the backs of their necks and their forelegs are decorated with curls and their necks and bodies are covered with fine, undulating lines.
    3. A spin making the trajectory of an object curve.
    , page 38:
      • It is possible to use the wind which blows from the left to the right by playing well into the wind with the slightest bit of curl on the ball 
    1. (curling) Movement of a moving rock away from a straight line.
    2. (weightlifting) Any exercise performed by bending the arm, wrist, or leg on the exertion against resistance, especially those that train the biceps.
      • 2007 (Jan/Feb), Jon Crosby, "Your Winter Muscle Makeover", Men's Health, page 54:Now do a curl and an overhead press, keeping your palms facing in.
    3. (calculus) The vector field denoting the rotationality of a given vector field.
      • 1995, Erich Prisner, Graph dynamics:In 2D, when Q is a polygonal domain, the singularities of Type (2) disappear because ψ is the scalar curl of u and is such that its vectorial curl is zero.
    4. (calculus, proper noun) The vector operator, denoted \rm{curl}\; or
    \vec{\nabla}\times\vec{\left(\cdot\right)}, that generates this field.
    1. (agriculture) Any of various diseases of plants causing the leaves or shoots to curl up; often specifically the potato curl.
      • 1840, "Farmers' Department", The Family Magazine, volume 1, page 227:These potatoes, however, planted the next year, have a fair yield, untouched by the curl.
    2. (music, chiefly lutherie) The contrasting light and dark figure seen in wood used for stringed instrument making; the flame.
      The one-piece back is of a medium curl.




    1. (transitive) To cause to move in a curve.
      • 1998, Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch‎, page 70He picked the ball up about forty yards out on the left wing, left a trail of Arsenal defenders in his wake, and curled the ball round Geoff Barnett as he came right out into the far corner.
      • 2011, January 12, Saj Chowdhury, Liverpool 2 - 1 Liverpool, Campbell should have scored but missed with a header from four yards at the far post before Taylor-Fletcher came close to adding a second when he curled an effort over the stranded Reina, who should have been punished for a poor clearance.
    2. (transitive) To make into a curl or spiral.
      • 2004, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Twelve Times Blessed‎, page 249She curls her spine; she wedges a pillow between her knees.
    3. (intransitive) To assume the shape of a curl or spiral.
      • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, , chapter XXXIIt seemed to me that Mr. St. John's under lip protruded, and his upper lip curled a moment.
    4. (intransitive) To move in curves.
      • 1977, Scott O'Dell, Carlota‎, page 1Clouds curled down from the mountains.
      • 2007, John Coyne, The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan‎, page 97The ball curled to a stop within six inches of the hole.
    5. (intransitive, curling) To take part in the sport of curlingI curl at my local club every weekend.
    6. (transitive, weightlifting) To exercise by bending the arm, wrist, or leg on the exertion against resistance, especially of the biceps.
      • 2008, Joseph Lee Klapper, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Boosting Your Metabolism‎, page 119When curling the weight, bring the barbell up toward the chin, then return it to its starting position. Keep your elbows and upper arms as immobile as possible to isolate the biceps.
    7. To twist or form (the hair, etc.) into ringlets.
      • GascoigneCurl their locks with bodkins and with braid.
    8. To deck with, or as if with, curls; to ornament.
      • MiltonThicker than the snaky locks
        That curled Megaera.
      • HerbertCurling with metaphors a plain intention.
    9. To raise in waves or undulations; to ripple.
      • DrydenSeas would be pools without the brushing air
        To curl the waves.
    10. (hat-making) To shape (the brim of a hat) into a curve.



    © Wiktionary