curious
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈkjʊə.ɹi.əs/, /ˈkjɔː-/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈkjʊ.ɹi.əs/, /ˈkjɝ.i.əs/
Adjective

curious

  1. tend#Verb|Tending to ask#Verb|ask question#Noun|questions, or to want#Verb|want to explore or investigate; inquisitive; (with a negative connotation) nosy, prying#Adjective|prying.
    Synonyms: enquiring, inquiring, exquisitive, investigative, peery
    Antonyms: incurious, noncurious, uncurious
    Young children are naturally curious about the world and everything in it.
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In Three Volumes, volume III, London: Printed [by Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744 ↗, [https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=emu.010001278703;view=1up;seq=197 page 189]:
      I shall quit your vessel on the ice raft which brought me thither and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch, who would create such another as I have been.
  2. cause#Verb|Caused by curiosity.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book III, canto IX, stanza 26, page 534 ↗:
      But he to ſhifte their curious requeſt, / Gan cauſen, why ſhe could not come in place; [...].
    • 1719 April 24, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], OCLC 15864594 ↗; 3rd edition, London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], 1719, OCLC 838630407 ↗, page 185 ↗:
      Such is the uneven State of human Life: And it afforded me a great many curious Speculations afterwards, when I had a little recovered my first surprise.
    • 1922 May 27, F[rancis] Scott Fitzgerald, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, in Tales of the Jazz Age, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, published September 1922, OCLC 1043023724 ↗, part I, page 193 ↗:
      The doctor heard him, faced around, and stood waiting, a curious expression settling on his harsh, medicinal face as Mr. Button drew near.
  3. lead#Verb|Leading one to ask questions about; somewhat odd, out of the ordinary, or unusual.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:strange
    Antonyms: uncurious
    The platypus is a curious creature, with fur like a mammal and a beak like a bird.
    • 1719 April 24, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], OCLC 15864594 ↗; 3rd edition, London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], 1719, OCLC 838630407 ↗, page 34 ↗:
      I found him by his Blood ſtaining the water; and by the help of a Rope which I slung round him and gave the Negroes to hawl, they drag'd him on Shore, and found that it was a moſt curious Leopard, ſpotted and fine to an admirable Degree, and the Negroes held up their Hands with Admiration to think what it was I had kill'd him with.
    • 1865 November 26 (indicated as 1866), Lewis Carroll [pseudonym; Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], “The Pool of Tears”, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, London: Macmillan and Co., OCLC 946274348 ↗, page 15 ↗:
      "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). "Now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!"
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, “A Lady in Company”, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 16 ↗:
      Captain Edward Carlisle, soldier as he was, martinet as he was, felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, her alluring smile; he could not tell what this prisoner might do.
  4. (obsolete) Careful, fastidious, particular; (specifically) demand#Verb|demanding a high#Adjective|high standard#Noun|standard of excellence, difficult to satisfy.
    • 1593, Philip Sidney, “The Fifth Booke”, in H[ugh] S[anford], editor, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia […] [The New Arcadia], London: Printed [by John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, OCLC 1049103286 ↗; republished in Albert Feuillerat, editor, The Last Part of The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia […] (Cambridge English Classics: The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney; II), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: At the University Press, 1922, OCLC 496012517 ↗, page 193 ↗:
      Honourable even in the curiousest pointes of honour, whereout there can no disgrace nor disperagement come unto her.
    • c. 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iv], page 295 ↗, column 2:
      I am ſo fraught with curious buſineſſe, that / I leaue out ceremony.
    • 1624, Richard Pots; William Tankard; G. P.; William Simons, compiler, “Chap. VIII. Captaine Smiths Iourney to Pamavnkee.”, in John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles: […], London: Printed by I[ohn] D[awson] and I[ohn] H[aviland] for Michael Sparkes, OCLC 1049014009 ↗, book 3; reprinted in The Generall Historie of Virginia, [...] (Bibliotheca Americana), Cleveland, Oh.: The World Publishing Company, 1966, OCLC 633956660 ↗, page 74 ↗:
      [We] never had better fires in England, then in the dry, ſmoaky houſes of Kecoughtan: but departing thence, when we found no houſes we were not curious in any weather to lye three or foure nights together vnder the trees by a fire, [...]
  5. (obsolete) Carefully or artfully construct#Verb|constructed; make#Verb|made with great elegance or skill#Noun|skill.
    • 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: […]”, in The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...], Imprinted at London: [By H. Middleton] for Robert Waley, OCLC 837515946 ↗; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], OCLC 706027473 ↗, page 44 ↗:
      To honour which a worlde of people reſorted unto the Lord de Bolognas caſtle; for the intertainment of whiche gueſtes, there neither wanted coſtly cheare, curious ſhewes, or pleaſaunt deviſes, that eyther money, friendſhip or cunning might compaſſe.
    • c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene v], page 156 ↗, column 2:
      His wonted ſleepe, vnder a freſh trees ſhade, / All which ſecure, and ſweetly he enjoyes, / Is farre beyond a Princes Delicates: / His Viands ſparkling in a Golden Cup, / His bodie couched in a curious bed, / When Care, Miſtrust, and Treaſon waits on him.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Exodus 28:8 ↗:
      And the curious girdle of the Ephod, which is upon it, ſhall bee of the ſame, according to the worke thereof; euen of gold, of blew, and purple, and ſcarlet, and fine twined linnen.
    • 1665, R[obert] Hooke, “Observ[ation] I. Of the Point of a Sharp Small Needle.”, in Micrographia: Or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses. With Observations and Inquiries thereupon, London: Printed by Jo[hn] Martyn, and Ja[mes] Allestry, printers to the Royal Society, […], OCLC 937019123 ↗, pages 1–2 ↗:
      [I]f view'd with a very good Microſcope, we may find that the top of a Needle (though as to the ſenſe very ſharp) appears a broad, blunt, and very irregular end; not reſembling a Cone, as is imagin'd, but onely a piece of a tapering body, with a great part of the top remov'd, or deficient. The Points of Pins are yet more blunt, and the Points of the moſt curious Mathematital Inſtruments do very ſeldome arrive at ſo great a ſharpneſs; [...]
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