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Definition of "curare" [cu•ra•re]

  • A dark resinous extract obtained from several tropical American woody plants, especially Chondrodendron tomentosum or certain species of Strychnos, used as an arrow poison by some Indian peoples of South America. (noun)
  • A purified preparation or alkaloid obtained from Chondrodendron tomentosum, used in medicine and surgery to relax skeletal muscles. (noun)
  • A plant yielding curare. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "curare" in a sentence
  • "In his textbook on physiology, Professor Holmgren calls curare the "most cruel of poisons," because an animal under its influence "it changes instantly into a living corpse which hears and sees, and knows everything, but is unable to move a single muscle; and under its influence no creature can give the faintest indication of its hopeless condition.""
  • "Amongst the most curious of the discoveries made by Humboldt, we must mention that of the "curare," the virulent poison which he saw manufactured by the Catarapeni and Maquiritare Indians, and a specimen of which he sent to the Institute with the "dapiche," a variety of"
  • "Such is the quickness with which the "curare" does its work!"