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The spell remove curse only states:

At your touch, all curses affecting one creature or object end. If the object is a cursed magic item, its curse remains, but the spell breaks its owner’s attunement to the object so it can be removed or discarded.

What is considered "cursed"?

If a spell has been cast on a weapon and the spell is more disadvantageous than advantageous and I cast remove curse on it, does it break the owner's attunement to the object? Because it doesn't state in the "cursed" weapon's (Berserker greataxe's) statistics that it's cursed.

Or if a Wererat has bitten a member of the party, and the bitten character doesn't succeed on the sawing throw and is affected, can someone cast remove curse on him to remove the effect?

Do these situations count as a "curse" so it can be removed by the spell, or does it have to state that it's a "curse" in order to be removed by the spell?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Berserker Axe seems to be cursed. [1] [2] - "Curse. This axe is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the axe, keeping it within reach at all times. [...]" \$\endgroup\$ – CodesInChaos Apr 23 '17 at 19:34
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Curses are labeled as "curse" in the descriptive text and have text describing exactly how it interacts with the Remove Curse spell.

Monster Example:

Monster Manual page 229: A creature that takes treasure from the lair is cursed until the treasure is returned. The cursed target has disadvantage on all saving throws. The curse lasts until removed by a remove curse spell or other magic.

Item Example:

Dungeon Masters Guide page 152: Curse. This armor is cursed, a fact that is revealed only when an identify spell is cast on the armor or you attune to it. Attuning to the armor curses you until you are targeted by the remove curse spell or similar magic: removing the armor fails to end the curse. While cursed you have vulnerability to two of the three damage type associated with the armor (not the one to which it grants resistance).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the definition of a curse given somewhere in the rules? Your interpretation is very reasonable, but I'm curious. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Hinchey Jun 23 at 2:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanHinchey Unfortunately it doesn't have a specific definition. It is actually better defined by what cures it than what it actually is! I couldn't find any better definition after searching both DMG and PHB. \$\endgroup\$ – Guy Jun 24 at 3:33
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It has to be a "curse." In the game curse doesn't just mean "any bad thing," it's a technical term applied to bestow curse spells, cursed weapons, and other things that say they count as curses. You are "cursed with wererat lycanthropy" so it counts. Something like bane does not, it's "bad for you" but not a curse.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Where does it say that in the rules? \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Hinchey Jun 23 at 2:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Games use technical language. If something is a curse it will use the word “curse.” If it says “advantage” it means “advantage.” There’s no “rule” besides English and logic at play here. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Jun 23 at 3:45

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