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CURATE, eccl. law. One who represents the incumbent of a church, person, or20 vicar, and takes care of the church, and performs divine service in his stead.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
"Maillard," began the curate, "this gentleman and I have come to talk with you a little."
"Yes," continued the curate, apparently accustomed to this tone, "yes, we wish to know your opinion of the events of to-day and what you have heard said by people going in and out of the church."
"Consider, Maillard," said the curate, "that I have recommended you to this gentleman, who is a powerful lord, and that I have made myself responsible for you."
he will let you into the rooms in his tower," said the curate.
"That!" said the curate, when presently it happened again.
For a time the curate was silent, and then he whispered:
I could just see the curate's face, a dim, oval shape, and his collar and cuffs.
I told the curate I was going to seek food, and felt my way towards the pantry.
"Certainly," replied the Jesuit, a little put out, while the curate, greatly delighted, turned upon D'Artagnan a look full of gratitude.
"Place the HANDS," repeated the curate, with a gesture.
"You will be lost," said the curate, shaking his head sorrowfully.
Ah, my young friend," added the curate, groaning, "do not regret the devil, I implore you!"