curl up(redirected from curls up)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
1. To sit or recline with the knees pulled in close to the chest. A cold, rainy night like this just makes me want to stay home and curl up with a good book.
2. To coil something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "curl" and "up." I curled up the ribbon before tying it onto the gift box.
3. slang To kill someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "curl" and "up." I curled up the informant, boss, don't worry—he'll never talk to the police again.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
curl something up
to roll something up into a coil. She curled the edges of the paper up while she spoke. Why did she curl up the paper?
curl up (in(to) something)
1. to roll into a coil. The snake curled up into a neat coil. It curled up so we couldn't get at it.
2. [for one] to bend one's body into a resting place, such as a chair or a bed. Colleen curled up in the chair and took a nap. She curled up and took a nap.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Assume a position with the legs drawn up; settle down for sleep in this posture. For example, I love to curl up with a good book. [c. 1900]
2. curl up and die. Retreat, collapse, die, as in At first the horse was ahead but in the home stretch she curled up and died, or I'll just curl up and die if he shows up. This colorful expression for collapsing or dying is often used hyperbolically (second example). [Early 1900s]
3. curl someone up. Kill someone, as in The sheriff said he'd curl up that outlaw. This usage originated as cowboy slang in the second half of the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To twist, bend, or roll something into a curved or spiral form: She curled up the poster and slipped it into a tube. He waxed the ends of his moustache and curled them up.
2. To assume a curved or spiral form: The pages of the book had curled up at the edges.
3. To assume a position with the legs drawn up: I curled up in an armchair to read a book.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.