What's the meaning of curious

Curious Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs 




: marked by desire to investigate and learn

They were curious as to who won the game.

The cat was curious about its new environment.


: marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosy

curious about the neighbors' doings


: exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected : odd

a curious coincidence

We were concerned about his curious behavior.



archaic : made carefully


archaic : precisely accurate


obsolete : abstruse

curiousness noun

Did you know?

Since the 1300s, "curious" has been variously used to describe things that in some way require, invite, or are characterized by carefulness or inquisitiveness. In so doing, it carries on the legacy of its Latin source, the adjective curiosus, meaning "careful" or "inquisitive. " The comparative of "curious" is "more curious," though it is not unusual to encounter the phrase "curiouser and curiouser," made popular by the title character of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland who, Lewis Carroll tells us, "was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English."


  • inquisitive
  • nosy
  • nosey
  • prying
  • snoopy

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

The cat was naturally curious about its new surroundings. They were curious to find out who won the game. We're curious about why you never called us. I'm curious to know more about her. She found a curious old clock in the attic. The birds were engaged in some curious behavior. Their music is a curious blend of disco and rock. By a curious coincidence, they bought a house the same day their old one burned down. See More

Recent Examples on the Web All the innovations that launched the Industrial Revolution, all the machines that have made our lives so much better, came from the minds of people who were once curious kids. Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2022 People on both sides of the Windows vs. Mac operating system debate probably just aren’t aware of what the other side has to offer, and some of you may actually be curious . PCMAG, 29 Nov. 2022 Jordan Marshall, 28, a 12th-grade English teacher, was curious and loved different cultures, his mom told CNN on Wednesday, while his friend, Courtez Hall, 33, was a seventh-grade social studies teacher in the city. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 10 Nov. 2022 As any good scientist can tell you, being curious is usually more productive than being critical. Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Entrepreneurs are generally curious and that curiosity leads to discovery. Jason Hennessey, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 2022 And once Molly became curious about Peggy, the two animals started to form a friendship, which included rolling around on the ground together, Peggy giving Molly piggyback rides, and sharing nap sessions. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 But researchers at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital got curious and wondered how AirPods using the Live Listen feature would stack up against medical hearing aids. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Nov. 2022 The kids, meanwhile, have grown curious about ordinary human life. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curious. ' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French curios, from Latin curiosus careful, inquisitive, from cura cure

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler

The first known use of curious was in the 14th century

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curiouser and curiouser

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“Curious. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curious. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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Kids Definition



cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs 


: eager to learn

a cat curious about its new surroundings


: inquisitive sense 2


: attracting attention by being strange or unusual : odd

a curious old coin

that's curious—they were here yesterday

curiously adverb

curiousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of curious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curious for Arabic Speakers

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Curious Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

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This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.

[ kyoor-ee-uhs ]

/ ˈkyʊər i əs /

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See synonyms for: curious / curiously / curiousness on Thesaurus.com

This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.


eager to learn or know; inquisitive.

prying; meddlesome.

arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention through being inexplicable or highly unusual; odd; strange: a curious sort of person; a curious scene.


  1. made or prepared skillfully.
  2. done with painstaking accuracy or attention to detail: a curious inquiry.
  3. careful; fastidious.
  4. marked by intricacy or subtlety.


1 inquiring, interested.

2 spying, peeping.

3 singular, novel, rare.

See synonyms for curious on Thesaurus.com


1, 2 indifferent.

See antonyms for curious on Thesaurus.com


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Origin of curious

1275–1325; Middle English <Latin cūriōsus careful, inquisitive, equivalent to cūri- (combining form of cūra care) + -ōsus-ous. See cure

synonym study for curious

2. Curious, inquisitive, meddlesome, prying refer to taking an undue (and petty) interest in others' affairs. Curious implies a desire to know what is not properly one's concern: curious about a neighbor's habits. Inquisitive implies asking impertinent questions in an effort to satisfy curiosity: inquisitive about a neighbor's habits. Meddlesome implies thrusting oneself into and taking an active part in other people's affairs entirely unasked and unwelcomed: a meddlesome cousin who tries to run the affairs of a family. Prying implies a meddlesome and persistent inquiring into others' affairs: a prying reporter inquiring into the secrets of a business firm.


cu·ri·ous·ly, adverbcu·ri·ous·ness, nounnon·cu·ri·ous, adjectivenon·cu·ri·ous·ly, adverb

non·cu·ri·ous·ness, nouno·ver·cu·ri·ous, adjectiveo·ver·cu·ri·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·cu·ri·ous·ness, nounsu·per·cu·ri·ous, adjectivesu·per·cu·ri·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·cu·ri·ous·ness, nounun·cu·ri·ous, adjectiveun·cu·ri·ous·ly, adverb

Words nearby curious

Curie-Weiss law, curio, curiosa, curiosity, Curiosity killed the cat, curious, curite, Curitiba, curium, curl, curled paperwork

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

Words related to curious

inquisitive, interested, bizarre, exotic, extraordinary, mysterious, peculiar, puzzling, remarkable, strange, unique, unusual, weird, wonderful, analytical, examining, impertinent, inquiring, inspecting, interfering

How to use curious in a sentence

  • It can give you an insight into what people are searching for, interested in, and curious about.

    A comprehensive guide on using Google Trends for keyword research|Aayush Gupta|February 12, 2021|Search Engine Watch

  • Instead, I’m curious how we can have so many different seed data signals in the same year.

    Are SAFEs obscuring today’s seed volume?|Alex Wilhelm|February 9, 2021|TechCrunch

  • Although Rachel is curious about Miriam’s spiritual life, especially jealous of the ease Miriam and her family share, it is more in physical ways that they connect.

    Melissa Broder’s ‘Milk Fed’ is a delectable exploration of physical and emotional hunger|Bethanne Patrick|February 9, 2021|Washington Post

  • Rivas recalls walking into the venue in Buenos Aires and being greeted by a massive — and curious — crowd of several thousand.

    How break dancing made the leap from ’80s pop culture to the Olympic stage|Rick Maese|February 9, 2021|Washington Post

  • Shultz was a policy maven, conservative but curious, patient and determined.

    George P. Shultz, counsel and Cabinet member for two Republican presidents, dies at 100|Michael Abramowitz, David Hoffman|February 8, 2021|Washington Post

  • Even other men of color considered Revels a curious figure, for Mississippi had never had a large free black population.

    The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate|Philip Dray|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • But the ads are not just intended to remind the Google-curious that Paul exists and is thinking about running for president.

    Rand Paul’s Passive-Aggressive Trolling Campaign|Olivia Nuzzi|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • As I got better, I also got curious about what happened to other patients like me.

    You’re Never ‘Cured’ of an Eating Disorder|Carrie Arnold|December 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • I had, for a long time, been curious about the place where all this fantastic stuff was made.

    A Whisky Connoisseur Remembers That First Sip of The Macallan||December 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • He was way too ill to visit the set and all that, but was very curious about the film.

    Idris Elba on Eric Garner, ‘Mi Mandela,’ and Selling Weed to Dave Chappelle|Marlow Stern|December 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • At last there appeared some probability of their accomplishing this, after a most curious and truly Mexican fashion.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXIX. January, 1844. Vol. LV.|Various

  • He heard himself saying lightly, though with apparent lack of interest: 'How curious, Lettice, how very odd!

    The Wave|Algernon Blackwood

  • This judicial bent of the child is a curious one and often develops a priggish fondness for setting others morally straight.

    Children's Ways|James Sully

  • Sebastian Brandt died; counsellor of Strassburg, a lawyer, and author of a curious poem.

    The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell

  • Something within him wanted to go, something that was perhaps intellectually curious.

    Bella Donna|Robert Hichens

British Dictionary definitions for curious


/ (ˈkjʊərɪəs) /


eager to learn; inquisitive

overinquisitive; prying

interesting because of oddness or novelty; strange; unexpected

rare (of workmanship, etc) highly detailed, intricate, or subtle

obsolete fastidious or hard to please

Derived forms of curious

curiously, adverbcuriousness, noun

Word Origin for curious

C14: from Latin cūriōsus taking pains over something, from cūra care

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Curious means smart. Or not?

Curious means smart. Or not? | Big Ideas Personal qualities and skills
Irina Peshkova
Photo: Dim Hou / Unsplash

Curiosity is a feeling that helps diversify gray everyday life. The life of a person who does not sit still, as a rule, is devoid of boredom and is full of events. However, the incentives that trigger the "thirst for knowledge" can vary greatly. Scientists distinguish between perceptual and epistemic (cognitive) curiosity. The first is aimed at searching for various kinds of sensory stimulation (tactile, visual, auditory). Many of us, wittingly or unwittingly, have managed to find adventures on our own heads and get into unforeseen situations thanks to this kind of curiosity.

The second is the desire for new knowledge, when a person likes to find out something, learn about something previously unknown or incomprehensible. This kind of curiosity (curiosity) stimulates consistent exploratory behavior. A person lacks specific information to understand a situation or problem, and he tries his best to get it.

Numerous studies show that people with a high level of epistemic curiosity are more likely to seek out new environments and situations to satisfy their intellectual hunger and take deeper approaches to learning. But how does the inquisitiveness of the mind affect the development of the intellect? In other words, does curiosity make you smarter?

In a recent study, scientists from Germany and Switzerland decided to study the interaction between curiosity and fluid intelligence (the ability to reason, remember, analyze and solve problems). The scientific team also set out to determine how this interaction affects crystallized intelligence (accumulated experience and the ability to use acquired knowledge and skills).

In one of the auditoriums of a German university, 100 people were gathered (mostly all of them were students, the average age of the subjects was 22 years, 84% of the participants were women). Testing consisted of two stages. First, the respondents answered questions about how they rate themselves on several personal qualities (curiosity, conscientiousness, social anxiety). Then they performed tests on the structure of the intellect (answered questions covering knowledge in the field of geography, history, art, mathematics, natural sciences, everyday life), and also solved tasks on quick wits and memorization.

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Curiosity provokes a constant search for information, so a curious person is a godsend for business and other areas of employment.

Curiosity can be called a real perpetual motion machine of progress. After all, it is it that pushes people to discoveries, research, research, scientific experiments.

And although some rank it among human vices, this is a very stereotypical and prejudiced opinion.

If curiosity were not inherent in people, would we dare to dive into the unknown depths of the ocean, go into mysterious space, organize expeditions to impenetrable jungles or lifeless deserts?

Of course not. Why do we need Tahiti? We are well fed here.” This statement of a cartoon cat from a Soviet cartoon perfectly reflects the thinking of an incurious person.

That is why lack of curiosity is always associated with narrow-mindedness, dullness, stereotyped thinking.

Such thinking cannot lead a person to success. Nor can it help in self-development, because it completely dismisses its necessity.

Curiosity is an inexhaustible charge of internal energy. Remember what drives a small child when he opens all kinds of boxes, flasks, cabinets?

Curiosity, of course. The child has a limited supply of information about the world around him, so he is interested in everything.

It can be said that a child is the most curious person , that's why he has so much energy: after all, he has to do everything, try everything, study everything.

But, growing up, acquiring a certain base of information about our world, we gradually lose our curiosity. But not all, some remain curious at any age. And it is they who strive for something new, unknown, undiscovered, unknown.

Such a curious person becomes more socially useful than ordinary people, at the same time benefiting himself. First, he is constantly updating his knowledge.

Secondly, his curiosity, directed in the right direction, is always rewarded: increased efficiency, non-standard performance of tasks, finding new solutions.

And as a consequence of all this - the material reward of efforts.

In business curious person is also the most productive. It is only necessary to correctly use this internal energy and not confuse the concept of "poking your nose into other people's affairs" with the search for new information, information, solutions.

A "curious" businessman will always learn new information about his line of business.

He is interested in innovations, changes, business achievements. And to be aware of the latest events is a very useful state for an entrepreneur. Aware means armed.

But curious person will not stop there - he is interested in everything related to business. This means that he will also study related areas and, perhaps, find something useful, promising for himself, applicable in his business.

Curiosity helps:

— to find an original business idea for novice entrepreneurs;

— to find a fresh idea, a new direction, an innovation for established businessmen;

- more productive work for staff, employees - curious person perceives any information better.

Learn more