Verbalizing a wish that a person or group of people suffer harm and misfortune, through the actions of magical or divine powers. The curse can either be directed at this group or person or at oneself, for not following through on a contract or promise.
Cursing has existed form earliest times and has taken more sophisticated forms as language has developed. It was an extremely popular form of attacking an opponent when one was powerless to fight directly. It also was a way for an individual or group to demonstrate their seriousness in a contract before the collateral system came into being, by putting at risk their life, reputation and fate.
Cursing requires that the individual or group live in a society where there is an active belief in powers, gods and magic that are thought to be in charge of life as a whole, and that these powers can be called upon to cause harm.
Cursing is a way for penalizing and holding accountability in which all can participate.
Cursing takes the power and freedom for action out of the hands of the individual and group and puts it in the hands of something above and outside the group.