When things curdle, they turn from liquid gradually to solid, forming clumps along the way. If you leave milk out of the refrigerator long enough, it will curdle.

When a liquid curdles, it forms curds, or lumpy solid masses. In some cases this is deliberate, as when you make cheese or tofu. Other times, you might accidentally let something curdle, like a custard or sauce, or a forgotten container of cream at the back of your refrigerator. Curdle was originally crudle, from crud (later curd), “any coagulated substance,” or “congeal.”

Definitions of curdle
  1. verb

    go bad or sour

    “The milk
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    type of:

    go bad, spoil

    become unfit for consumption or use

  2. verb

    turn from a liquid to a solid mass

    “his blood
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    type of:

    clot, coagulate

    change from a liquid to a thickened or solid state

  3. verb

    turn into curds

    curdled milk”
    clabber, clot
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    homogenise, homogenize

    become homogeneous or similar, as by mixing
    homogenise, homogenize

    break up the fat globules of
    homogenise, homogenize

    cause to become equal or homogeneous as by mixing
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    type of:

    change state, turn

    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

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