#12 – TO CURL UP

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This means to get yourself in a really comfortable position on the sofa or in bed, with your legs bent and off the floor, so that you are in a curved shape – nice and comfy.
“I curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book”
“I can’t wait to just curl up in bed and fall asleep”
“The cat sat in front of the fire, curled himself up into a little ball, and fell asleep”


Hello everybody.

How are you doing? I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday.

This is Luke from Luke’s English Podcast.

This year I’m teaching you a phrasal verb every day. That’s a lot of phrasal verbs. I hope, you can keep up with me.

See what I did? I used a phrasal verb. Yes.

Now, today’s phrasal verb is TO CURL UP.


And this means to sit down in a very comfortable position or lie down in a very comfortable position. You might CURL UP on a sofa or CURL UP in bed.


So, if you CURL UP on a sofa, it means that you sit down, you get yourself really comfortable, you take your feet off the ground, so you put your feet on the sofa too, you maybe bring your feet and your legs close to your chest, so you kinda CURL UP.


…and people use this expression to talk about getting comfortable.

[SPEAKER 1] – “How was you Sunday?”

[SPEAKER 2] – “Oh, it was freezing cold outside. So, I just stayed in. I just made myself a cup of tea and I just CURLED UP on a sofa with a good book.”

That’s it for this one.

There’ll be another one tomorrow.

Bye bye bye bye.


  • Alier

    Every Sunday I curl up on sofa with cup of coffee and watch wrestling (Monday night raw).

  • Denis Paraschuk

    Yesterday, before sleeping, I curled up on the sofa with my son and read him one interesting fairy tale.

  • Steve

    Feeling very much groggy, I couldn’t help having a good night’s sleep. After a good long while, apparently, seeing me curled-up in front of the unlit hearth, my father laid a crimson blanket on me. (Using it right, ain’t I?)

  • María José

    Hey Luke! Thanks a lot for doing this I realy apreciate it! Here is my example:
    My cat loves curling up on the sofa.

    Hope it works and thanks again!

  • raulito

    When I don’t work I like to curl up in the sofa and watch tv or read a book

  • Ksenia

    And another example from Agatha Christie:
    Five o’clock in the morning is an awkward time to board a train. There were still two hours before dawn. Conscious of an inadequate night’s sleep, and of a delicate mission successfully accomplished, M. Poirot curled up in a corner and fell asleep.

  • Pingback: 175. The Phrasal Verb Chronicles #1 | Luke's ENGLISH Podcast()

  • Martin

    Hi, Luke,

    you explain in some podcast “warm and cosy”.

    f. e. “He set down by the fireplace, curled up on sofa with some cup of tea and felt warm and cosy, especially throughout the wintertime.”

    Does it work?


  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome,boss.The pleasure is mine.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Luke.
    I truly appreciate your work even though you thought that you really had to explain what sarcasm is.
    If sarcasm is typical to (or should I say “for” “?) Englishmen you have lots of your people here in Poland.At least among my family and friends.
    (I know English punctuation perfectly but I pretend not to.Is this irony or sarcasm?) ;)
    You are the best teacher in the Milky Way!

    • Absolutely. The English certainly can’t claim a monopoly on sarcasm!
      Thanks for the milky way comment :)