Definition of curare in English:


Pronunciation /kyo͝oˈrärē/ /kjʊˈrɑri/


  • A bitter, resinous substance obtained from the bark and stems of some South American plants. It paralyzes the motor nerves and is traditionally used by some Indian peoples to poison their arrows and blowpipe darts.

    Curare is obtained from Curarea species and Chondodendron tomentosum (family Menispermaceae), and Strychnos toxifera (family Loganiaceae)

    • ‘Their bark and roots contain curare, a lethal poison, which in small doses is now used as a muscle relaxant for open-heart surgery.’
    • ‘They use blowguns and darts dipped in a type of poison called curare, which instantly paralyzes an animal.’
    • ‘He would have had first hand experience with this concept, as he was instrumental in unraveling the secret of curare, a South American arrow poison.’
    • ‘They were seeking an alternative to the muscle relaxant drug, curare, derived from the South American Indian arrow poison.’
    • ‘Examples include taxol from the Pacific yew, curare from a group of South American shrubs, and aspirin, from the bark of willow trees.’
    • ‘The toxin in question is curare, originally known as woorari by South American aboriginals, who used it on their poison arrows.’
    • ‘The traditional way of hunting is using darts with curare (a formula whose active ingredient comes from the sap of the vine Strychnos toxifera).’
    • ‘Like curare, this poison is used on arrow tips for hunting.’
    • ‘Muscle activation by neurons can be blocked by the drug curare, which prevents neuromuscular transmission, and this blocking results in a large increase in the number of motor neurons that survive.’
    • ‘The aminosteroids include pancuronium and vecuronium and the bisquaternary nitrogen compounds include the progenitor compound curare and one of its derivatives, atracurium.’
    • ‘If they were extracting strychnine from the curare vine for poison blowgun darts, he did likewise.’
    • ‘His hope is that a dose of poisonous curare followed quickly by the antidote will reverse the ongoing paralysis of his limbs.’
    • ‘In 1940, curare was introduced to moderate the vertebrae-cracking force of the convulsions, and succinylcholine was introduced in 1952.’
    • ‘A drop of curare, mingled with the blood, dripped off the tip of it.’
    • ‘Did you know that there's a species of frog on this island that secretes a powerful toxin known as curare?’
    • ‘Turning to our Nineteenth Century essayists, we find chloroform is everywhere, and curare nowhere.’
    • ‘An even better idea might be a judicious injection of curare, if it works as I've been told it does.’
    • ‘The next step of lethal injection is a huge hit of curare derivative to lock up your lungs.’
    • ‘The prisoner who'd given her the curare had meant well.’
    • ‘The darts, sharpened at one end, are dipped in the poisonous sap of the curare tree to produce an anaesthetic effect upon the victim.’


Late 18th century from a Carib word, partly via Spanish and Portuguese.



/kyo͝oˈrärē/ /kjʊˈrɑri/