I'm looking for a synonym for "curious" that is undoubtedly positive. "Curious" itself is fairly neutral--it could be interpreted as a good thing, but it's sometimes seen as a bad thing (i.e., "Curiosity killed the cat."). There are plenty of other synonyms that are wholly negative: "nosy," "snoopy," "prying," etc. Are there any other synonyms for "curious" that make it clear it's a good thing, such as to describe someone who's curious about an academic subject and wants to learn more about it?

I've already tried Webster.com's thesaurus search, as well as thesaurus.com and synonym.com, but the only results there are either neutral or negative.

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    Or are you using it, not as "Now that's curious", but rather as "She is very curious about everything"? In which case, "She's very interested in everything." seems to work well.
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:42
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    'Fascinated by' rarely introduces harmful referents. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:44
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    'inquisitive'? Although I think 'interested' or 'fascinated by', as already suggested, are better. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:53
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    'Insatiable appetite for knowledge' ?
    – user109557
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 18:23
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    "Inquisitive" is the first word I thought of.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


I think if used in the context you've described curious will consistently have a positive connotation; I can't conceive of how curiosity about an academic subject could be taken negatively.

Perhaps the word 'interested' is less likely to be construed negatively. "She was interested in biology".

I think that any negative connotation attached to any word that describes inquisitiveness stems from the human desire for privacy; there will always be certain subjects that people don't want examined, as such there will always be the potential for any type of inquisitiveness to be spun negatively.

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