late 13c., "to rub down a horse," from Anglo-Fr. curreier "to curry-comb a horse," from O.Fr. correier "put in order, prepare, curry," from con- intens. prefix + reier "arrange," from a Gmc. source. The surviving sense of curry favor is c.1510, altered by folk etymology from curry favel (c.1400) from O.Fr. correier fauvel "to be false, hypocritical," lit. "to curry the chestnut ('fawn-colored') horse," which in medieval French allegories was a symbol of cunning and deceit.
"spice," 1681, from Tamil kari "sauce, relish for rice."
Seek gain or advancement by fawning or flattery, as in Edith was famous for currying favor with her teachers. This expression originally came from the Old French estriller fauvel, “curry the fallow horse,” a beast that in a 14th-century allegory stood for duplicity and cunning. It came into English about 1400 as curry favel—that is, curry (groom with a currycomb) the animal—and in the 1500s became the present term.