[ kurv ]
See synonyms for: curvecurvedcurvescurving on

  1. a continuously bending line, without angles.

  2. the act or extent of curving.

  1. any curved outline, form, thing, or part.

  2. a curved section of a road, path, hallway, etc.

  3. Railroads. a curved section of track: in the U.S. the curve is often expressed as the central angle, measured in degrees, of a curved section of track subtended by a chord 100 feet (30 meters) long (degree of curve ).

  4. Baseball.

    • the path followed by a ball pitched as a curveball: The curve on that ball was nasty!

  5. a graphic representation of the variations effected in something by the influence of changing conditions; graph.

  6. Mathematics. a collection of points whose coordinates are continuous functions of a single independent variable.

  7. a misleading or deceptive trick; cheat; deception.

  8. Education. a grading system based on the scale of performance, so that those performing better relative to others in the group, regardless of their actual knowledge of the subject, receive high grades: The new English professor grades on a curve.: Compare absolute (def. 10).

  9. a curved guide used in drafting.

verb (used with object),curved, curv·ing.
  1. to bend in a curve; cause to take the course of a curve.

  2. to grade on a curve.

verb (used without object),curved, curv·ing.
  1. to bend in a curve; take the course of a curve.

  2. Baseball. to pitch a curveball: After two forkballs, Stewart curved to Hernandez for a called strike.

  1. having the shape of a curve; curved.

Idioms about curve

  1. ahead of / behind the curve, at the forefront of (or lagging behind) recent developments, trends, etc.

  2. flatten the curve. See entry at flatten the curve.

  1. throw (someone) a curve,

    • to take (someone) by surprise, especially in a negative way.

    • to mislead or deceive.

Origin of curve

First recorded in 1565–75; from Middle French or directly from Latin curvus “crooked, bent, curved”

Other words from curve

  • curv·ed·ly [kur-vid-lee], /ˈkɜr vɪd li/, adverb
  • curv·ed·ness, noun
  • curve·less, adjective
  • un·curved, adjective
  • un·curv·ing, adjective
  • un·der·curve, noun
  • un·der·curve, verb (used without object), un·der·curved, un·der·curv·ing.
  • well-curved, adjective

Words Nearby curve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use curve in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for curve


/ (kɜːv) /

  1. a continuously bending line that has no straight parts

  2. something that curves or is curved, such as a bend in a road or the contour of a woman's body

  1. the act or extent of curving; curvature

  2. maths

    • a system of points whose coordinates satisfy a given equation; a locus of points

    • the graph of a function with one independent variable

  3. a line representing data, esp statistical data, on a graph: an unemployment curve

  4. ahead of the curve ahead of the times; ahead of schedule

  5. behind the curve behind the times; behind schedule

  6. short for French curve

  1. to take or cause to take the shape or path of a curve; bend

Origin of curve

C15: from Latin curvāre to bend, from curvus crooked

Other words from curve

  • Related adjective: sinuous

Derived forms of curve

  • curvedly (ˈkɜːvɪdlɪ), adverb
  • curvedness, noun
  • curvy, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for curve


[ kûrv ]

  1. A line or surface that bends in a smooth, continuous way without sharp angles.

  2. The graph of a function on a coordinate plane. In this technical sense, straight lines, circles, and waves are all curves.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with curve


see throw a curve.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.