Is there a term that describes a person's quality of being curious but getting into trouble because of it? For example, Odysseus in "The Odyssey" wants to see the cyclops so he decides to stay in the cave but because if it his crew almost dies. I am looking for a word that I can use to say: "Because of Odysseus's [insert word] he makes several decisions that nearly lead to the loss of his crew".

  • 2
    I know of no single word for this. The phrase 'insatiable curiosity', however, seems to fit the bill. – Anonym Feb 9 '14 at 2:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Curiosity itself can get one into trouble but it is more likely that a "morbid curiosity" leads to trouble. So you can use "morbid curiosity" in your example.

From wikipedia:

A morbid curiosity exemplifies addictive curiosity. It has as its object death, violence, or any other event that may cause harm physically or emotionally, the addictive emotion being explainable by meta-emotions exercising pressure on the spontaneous curiosity itself.

The metaphor "curiosity killed the cat" can support your subject also.

  • +1 for "curiosity killed the cat" (I saw this after I posted that as my answer and have now deleted mine!). But "morbid curiosity" is good too. – user184130 Jul 27 at 18:10

Consider prying, this sense of which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

Excessively interested in a person's private affairs; too inquisitive.

Another similar sense might be conveyed by nosiness, though this has an informal feel to it.

  • On second thought, I guess "prying" doesn't fit in the blank from the question very well. "Nosiness" sort of does, though, again, it doesn't sound as dignified. – Doug Warren Jul 27 at 17:17

Mischievous is the word that you might be thinking of.

  • 2
    Mischievous means something like irresponsibly playful. That doesn't seem match the question. – user184130 Jul 27 at 17:40

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