A curlicue is a spiral, twist, or wavy shape that's added as a flourish. You might personalize your signature by adding a couple of curlicues to the first letter of your name.

In design, architecture, and works of art, a curly spiral can be called a curlicue. The black wrought iron fence surrounding a rose garden may feature curlicues, and formal calligraphy, with its swirls and flourishes, is full of curlicues. This word is an Americanism based on curly, with the cue probably stemming from the French queue, "tail." An earlier — and more adorable — word with the same meaning was curlie-wurlie.

Definitions of curlicue
  1. noun
    a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals)
    synonyms: coil, curl, gyre, ringlet, roll, scroll, whorl
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    (botany) the whorl of petals of a flower that collectively form an inner floral envelope or layer of the perianth
    (botany) the whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud; usually green
    a whorl of leaves growing around a stem
    persistent enlarged calyx at base of e.g. a strawberry or raspberry
    calyx composed of scales or bristles or featherlike hairs in plants of the Compositae such as thistles and dandelions
    type of:
    round shape
    a shape that is curved and without sharp angles
  2. noun
    a short twisting line
    synonyms: squiggle
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    type of:
    a mark that is long relative to its width
Word Family

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