General English



  • noun a particular way of making someone well or of stopping an illness
  • verb to preserve fish or meat by salting or smoking it
  • verb to make someone healthy


  • verb to dry inks or paper coatings after printing to prevent set off

Origin & History of “cure”

The Latin noun cūra ‘care’ has fathered a wide range of English words. On their introduction to English, via Old French, both the noun and the verb cure denoted ‘looking after’, but it was not long before the specific sense ‘medical care’ led to ‘successful medical care’ – that is, ‘healing’ (the Latin verb cūrāre could mean ‘cure’ too, but this sense seems not to have survived into Old French). The notion of ‘looking after’ now scarcely survives in cure itself, but it is preserved in the derived nouns curate (14th c.) (and its French version curé (17th c.)), who looks after souls, and curator (14th c.). The Latin adjective cūriōsus originally meant ‘careful’, a sense preserved through Old French curios into English curious (14th c.) but defunct since the 18th century. The secondary sense ‘inquisitive’ developed in Latin, but it was not until the word reached Old French that the meaning ‘interesting’ emerged. Curio (19th c.) is an abbreviation of curiosity (14th c.), probably modelled on Italian nouns of the same form. Curette (18th c.) and its derivative curettage (19th c.) were both formed from the French verb curer, in the sense ‘clean’.

Other English descendants of Latin cūra include scour, secure, and sinecure.