\ ˈkərv How to pronounce curve (audio) \

Definition of curve

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: bent or formed into a curve


curved; curving

Definition of curve (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to have or take a turn, change, or deviation from a straight line or plane surface without sharp breaks or angularity

transitive verb

1 : to cause to curve
2 : to throw a curveball to (a batter)
3 : to grade (something, such as an examination) on a curve



Definition of curve (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : a line especially when curved: such as
(1) : the path of a moving point
(2) : a line defined by an equation so that the coordinates of its points are functions of a single independent variable or parameter
b : the graph of a variable — see also epidemic curve, learning curve, normal curve, simple closed curve, sine curve
2 : something curved: such as
a : a curving line of the human body
b curves plural : parenthesis
4 : a distribution indicating the relative performance of individuals measured against each other that is used especially in assigning good, medium, or poor grades to usually predetermined proportions of students rather than in assigning grades based on predetermined standards of achievement
5 : trend a growth curve in advertising revenues especially : a prevalent trend or rate of progress often used in the phrases ahead of the curve and behind the curve companies that are behind the curve in adopting new technologies

Synonyms & Antonyms for curve

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of curve in a Sentence

Verb The tail curves over the dog's back. The road curves to the left. The fence curves in toward the side of the house. The railing curves out near the observation platform. Noun The dog's tail has a slight curve. There is a sharp curve coming up in the road. the price curve in relation to inflation
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Murphy said the accident location is west of the intersection of Huntsville Road and Hunt Lane where Huntsville Road begins to curve to the northwest. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 29 Dec. 2021 Heated conversations between Lawrence (Jay Ellis) and Condola (Christina Elmore) curve their paths—and the paths, consequently, of Issa and everyone else in their orbit. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 9 Dec. 2021 To slow down, divers attempt to curve their bodies back to a horizontal position in about five seconds. New York Times, 3 Dec. 2021 For that reason, the bottom corners can’t curve like the Galaxy S22. Chris Smith, BGR, 12 Nov. 2021 As the fight to curve the spread of cancer and ultimately find a cure for the disease continues, more and more leaders are joining the battle and creating programs to highlight this ongoing struggle millions of men are facing in the United States. Raquel "rocky" Harris, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Technical knitwear is her area of expertise, and that LBD is engineered to hug tight at the waist and curve down the spine—no gapping or scrunching—with sporty contrast ribbing at the back. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 1 Nov. 2021 Sixteen propellers create thrust while flaps that extend from the back of the wings curve down to redirect the airstream toward the ground. J. George Gorant, Robb Report, 19 Oct. 2021 Forecasters expect its ultimate path will curve north later this week toward Bermuda and away from the Caribbean. Victoria Ballard,, 21 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The yield curve, which has accurately predicted most recessions when the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury has fallen below the 2-year, steepened slightly to reflect a lesser chance of a policy error from the Fed. Bill Stone, Forbes, 12 Dec. 2021 Every curve, knob and seam is autobiographical, but not only that. Washington Post, 3 Dec. 2021 Studnicka, 22, is now four-plus years into his development curve after being selected No. 53 in the 2017 draft., 9 Nov. 2021 The upward surge in hospitalizations seen in Alabama in July and August was marked by its steep curve. Ramsey Archibald |, al, 25 Sep. 2021 Grand oak trees and tall, skinny pines curve over the paved trail, providing respite from the infamous and brutal midsummer Southern sun. Michael Venutolo-mantovani, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Sep. 2021 The sides of the screen curve down in a design reminiscent of Samsung Galaxy phones from a few years ago. Jim Rossman, Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2021 Charman says that data can change the dynamic of the Great Resignation as employers but will enable companies to get ahead of the curve with pay equity and prepare for the future of work. Jennifer Kite-powell, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 The curve-skimming nightgown will set you back $178, but if that's a bit steep for you, Amazon shoppers have found a similar style for a fraction of the price. Jennifer Chan,, 19 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of curve


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1594, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for curve


Middle English, from Latin curvus; akin to Greek kyrtos convex, Middle Irish cruinn round


Latin curvare, from curvus

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Time Traveler for curve

Time Traveler

The first known use of curve was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near curve

curvature of field



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Statistics for curve

Cite this Entry

“Curve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for curve



English Language Learners Definition of curve (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a curve : to turn or change from a straight line, shape, or path to a smooth, rounded one
: to cause (something) to form a curve



English Language Learners Definition of curve (Entry 3 of 2)

: a smooth, rounded line, shape, path, etc.
: a curved line on a graph that shows how something changes or is affected by one or more conditions
: a curving line or shape of the human body and especially of a woman's body


\ ˈkərv How to pronounce curve (audio) \
curved; curving

Kids Definition of curve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to turn or cause to turn from a straight line or course The road curved to the left.



Kids Definition of curve (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a smooth rounded line or surface Slow down! There's a curve in the road.
2 : something having a somewhat round shape the curves of the body
3 : a ball thrown so that it moves away from a straight course

More from Merriam-Webster on curve

Nglish: Translation of curve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curve for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about curve


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