Nearby words

  1. curvature aberration,
  2. curvature hyperopia,
  3. curvature myopia,
  4. curvature of field,
  5. curvature of space,
  6. curve ball,
  7. curve fitting,
  8. curve of occlusion,
  9. curved,
  10. curvedly


    ahead of/behindthe curve, at the forefront of (or lagging behind) recent developments, trends, etc.
    throw (someone) a curve,
    1. to take (someone) by surprise, especially in a negative way.
    2. to mislead or deceive.

Origin of curve

1565–75; (< Middle French) < Latin curvus crooked, bent, curved

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curve

British Dictionary definitions for curve



a continuously bending line that has no straight parts
something that curves or is curved, such as a bend in a road or the contour of a woman's body
the act or extent of curving; curvature
  1. a system of points whose coordinates satisfy a given equation; a locus of points
  2. the graph of a function with one independent variable
a line representing data, esp statistical data, on a graphan unemployment curve
ahead of the curve ahead of the times; ahead of schedule
behind the curve behind the times; behind schedule
short for French curve


to take or cause to take the shape or path of a curve; bend
Related formsRelated adjective: sinuous

Derived Formscurvedly (ˈkɜːvɪdlɪ), adverbcurvedness, nouncurvy, adjective

Word Origin for curve

C15: from Latin curvāre to bend, from curvus crooked

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

Word Origin and History for curve
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for curve




A line or surface that deviates from straightness in a smooth, continuous fashion.
Something characterized by such a line or surface, especially a rounded line or contour of the human body.
A curved line representing variations in data on a graph.


To move in or take the shape of a curve.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for curve



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

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.