from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To groom (a horse) with a currycomb.
  • transitive v. To prepare (tanned hides) for use, as by soaking or coloring.
  • idiom curry favor To seek or gain favor by fawning or flattery.
  • n. Curry powder.
  • n. A heavily spiced sauce or relish made with curry powder and eaten with rice, meat, fish, or other food.
  • n. A dish seasoned with curry powder.
  • transitive v. To season (food) with curry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of a family of dishes originating from South Asian cuisine, flavoured by a spiced sauce.
  • n. A spiced sauce or relish, especially one flavoured with curry powder.
  • n. Curry powder
  • v. To cook or season with curry powder.
  • v. To groom (a horse); to dress or rub down a horse with a curry comb
  • v. To dress (leather) after it is tanned by beating, rubbing, scraping and colouring
  • v. To beat, thrash; to drub
  • v. To try to win or gain (favour) by flattering.
  • v. To perform currying upon.
  • v. To scurry; to ride or run hastily.
  • v. To cover (a distance); (of a projectile) to traverse (its range).
  • v. To hurry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of sauce much used in India, containing garlic, pepper, ginger, and other strong spices.
  • n. A stew of fowl, fish, or game, cooked with curry.
  • transitive v. To dress or prepare for use by a process of scraping, cleansing, beating, smoothing, and coloring; -- said of leather.
  • transitive v. To dress the hair or coat of (a horse, ox, or the like) with a currycomb and brush; to comb, as a horse, in order to make clean.
  • transitive v. To beat or bruise; to drub; -- said of persons.
  • transitive v. To flavor or cook with curry.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rub and clean (a horse) with a comb; groom: sometimes used in contempt, with reference to a person.
  • Hence2. To stroke as if to soothe; flatter.
  • To dress or prepare (tanned hides) for use by soaking, skiving, shaving, scouring, coloring, graining, etc.
  • Figuratively, to beat; drub; thrash: as, to curry one's hide.
  • To flavor or prepare with curry.
  • n. A kind of sauce or relish, made of meat, fish, fowl, fruit, eggs, or vegetables, cooked with bruised spices, such as cayenne-pepper, coriander-seed, ginger, garlic, etc., with turmeric, much used in India and elsewhere as a relish or flavoring for boiled rice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (East Indian cookery) a pungent dish of vegetables or meats flavored with curry powder and usually eaten with rice
  • v. treat by incorporating fat
  • v. season with a mixture of spices; typical of Indian cooking
  • v. give a neat appearance to


Middle English curreien, from Anglo-Norman curreier, to arrange, curry, from Vulgar Latin *conrēdāre : Latin com-, com- + Vulgar Latin *-rēdāre, to make ready (of Germanic origin; see reidh- in Indo-European roots). Curry favor, by folk etymology from Middle English currayen favel, from Old French correier fauvel, to curry a fallow-colored horse, be hypocritical (from the fallow horse as a medieval symbol of deceit).
Tamil kaṟi.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English currayen, from Old French correer 'to prepare', presumably from Vulgar Latin conredare, from com- (a form of con- 'together') + some Germanic base verb (Wiktionary)
From Haskell Curry, a computer scientist (Wiktionary)
Possibly derived from currier, a common 16-18th century form of courier, as if to ride post, to post. Possibly influenced by scurry. (Wiktionary)



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  • Usage/historical note (sorta) can be found on Archithrenius.

    December 3, 2016

  • The sense "groom" (verb) ultimately comes from Late Latin *con-red- "make ready", with a root borrowed from Germanic.

    (This is cognate with Spanish correios "couriers, post", familiar from stamps—and unrelated to 'courier'. The root also gives 'read' via a sense "advise", cf. German Rat. Its borrowing into Romance also occurs in 'array'.)

    The 'favour' in the idiom is a mediaeval eggcorn: it comes from 'curry Favel', a fallow horse, proverbial for being deceitful.

    March 6, 2009

  • (idiom) "curry favor": To seek or gain favor by fawning or flattery.

    March 6, 2009

  • 'Mother kept saying "I told you so. I
    told you he was a low type." I never
    ate their horrid curries, he never ate
    anything else and whisky, whisky -
    probably he got ulcers years ago,
    I hope he did and he's dead dead DEAD now.'

    - Peter Reading, Mem-sahib, from The Prison Cell and Barrel Mystery, 1976

    June 23, 2008

  • I thought that there were few things worse than the Ed School by this name, but this conversation is one of them.

    October 12, 2007

  • Unaficionados say "Eeeew."

    October 12, 2007

  • Oh god. *gack*

    October 12, 2007

  • Yeah! With a gap of 12 and 24 hours between the burns...

    October 11, 2007

  • Aficionados say a good curry burns twice.

    October 11, 2007

  • Is there any other sense?

    December 12, 2006

  • December 9, 2006