- a pitch delivered with a spin that causes the ball to veer from a normal straight path, away from the side from which it was thrown.
- the course of such a pitched ball.
verb (used with object), curved, curv·ing.
verb (used without object), curved, curv·ing.
- to take (someone) by surprise, especially in a negative way.
- to mislead or deceive.
Origin of curve
Related Words for throw a curveknock, disturb, upset, rock, shock, jar, startle, shake, convulse, stun, dumbfound, bewilder, overwhelm, flabbergast, astound, boggle, confound, amaze, daze, stupefy
- a system of points whose coordinates satisfy a given equation; a locus of points
- the graph of a function with one independent variable
Word Origin for curve
1690s, "curved line," from curve (v.). With reference to the female figure (usually plural, curves), from 1862; as a type of baseball pitch, from 1879.
early 15c. (implied in curved), from Latin curvus "crooked, curved, bent," and curvare "to bend," both from PIE root *(s)ker- "to turn, bend" (see ring (n.)).
throw a curve
Surprise or outwit someone, as in They threw me a curve when they said that our department would be combined with yours. This colloquial term comes from baseball, where a pitcher tries to fool the batter by using a curve ball, which is thrown with sufficient spin to make it veer from its expected path. The term was transferred to other kinds of surprise, not necessarily unpleasant, in the mid-1900s.
see throw a curve.