bell curve


plural bell curves
: the symmetrical bell-shaped curve of a normal distribution : normal curve
Along the hilly slopes of the bell curve, most values—the data points that track whatever is being measured—are clustered around the middle. The average value is also the most common value.David A. Shaywitz

Examples of bell curve in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In real life, the distribution of how much people drive looks more or less like a bell curve. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 This despite the fact that the profession of science is skewed toward the right end of the intelligence bell curve. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 14 May 2011 The number also appears in bell curves, which are found in statistics about random variables that add up. Kat Friedrich, Popular Mechanics, 16 Mar. 2023 Normally, violent crime trends is a bell curve. NBC News, 7 June 2021 Think about your performance like a bell curve. Melody Wilding, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 The graph of this looks a bit like an off-kilter bell curve. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 26 Nov. 2010 Over the past two years, spending for the four cryptocurrency advertisers has followed a classic bell curve. Brad Adgate, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 Think of a bell curve. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 13 Jan. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bell curve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the shape

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bell curve was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near bell curve

Cite this Entry

“Bell curve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on bell curve

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!