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In mathematics, an abstract term used to describe the path of a continuously moving point (seecontinuity). Such a path is usually generated by an equation. The word can also apply to a straight line or to a series of line segments linked end to end. A closed curve is a path that repeats itself, and thus encloses one or more regions. Simple examples include circles, ellipses, and polygons. Open curves such as parabolas, hyperbolas, and spirals have infinite length.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on curve, visit Britannica.com.