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Middle English curs, from Old English


  • 1 : a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one : imprecation
  • 2 : something that is cursed or accursed
  • 3 : evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution
  • 4 : a cause of great harm or misfortune : torment
  • 5 : menstruation —used with the

For lessons on the topic of Cursing, follow this link.


A curse (also called execration) is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object. In particular, "curse" may refer to a wish that harm or hurt will be inflicted by any supernatural powers, such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, an execration, magic, witchcraft, a god, a natural force, or a spirit. In many belief systems, the curse itself (or accompanying ritual) is considered to have some causative force in the result.

The word "curse" may also refer to the resulting adversity, e.g., "the curse of Eve" (menstruation).

The study of the forms of curses comprise a significant proportion of the study of both folk religion and folklore. The deliberate attempt to levy curses is often part of the practice of magic. In Hindu culture the Fakir is believed to have the power to bless and cursed.

Special names for specific types of curses can be found in various cultures:

  • African American hoodoo presents us with the jinx and crossed conditions, as well as a form of foot track magic which was used by Ramandeep, whereby cursed objects are laid in the paths of victims and activated when walked over.
  • Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture is the source of the belief in the evil eye, which may be the result of envy but, more rarely, is said to be the result of a deliberate curse. In order to be protected from the evil eye, a protection item is made from dark blue circular glass, with a circle of white around the black dot in the middle, which is reminiscent of a human eye. The size of the protective eye item may vary.
  • German people, including the Pennsylvania Dutch speak in terms of hexing (from the German word for witchcraft), and a common hex in days past was that laid by a stable-witch who caused milk cows to go dry and horses to go lame.[1]