\ 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
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for curve

Synonyms: Verb

arc, arch, bend, bow, crook, fall off, hook, round, sweep, swerve, trend, wheel

Synonyms: Noun

angle, arc, arch, bend, bow, crook, curvature, inflection, turn, wind

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of curve in a Sentence


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.


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

Heavy-duty hinges were used on cabinet doors, preventing them from flipping open because of bumps, swerves or curves. Marc Bona,, "Sneak peek: Madden Cruiser at Pro Football Hall of Fame," 13 June 2019 The inside of the spoon is curved in the horizontal and vertical direction, so right and left sides and top and bottom of the image are switched. Scientific American, "Distorted Images," 6 June 2019 Up a curving path with railroad tracks on their left and the barren slopes of Monte Cristo Rey on their right. Morgan Smith, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: I scouted the U.S.-Mexico border looking for dignity and leadership," 4 June 2019 Our favorite: the ‘mc2’ table made of smoothly curving solid wood and exemplary for Caldas’ emphasis on robust craftsmanship. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Most Mesmerizing Design Moments of Salone del Mobile," 18 Apr. 2019 In contrast to the historic skyscraper’s filigreed crown of flying buttresses and pinnacles, the top of the new one would consist of curving glass walls extending beyond the building’s occupied floors. Blair Kamin And Ryan Ori,, "Developers plan city's second-tallest skyscraper next to new Tribune Tower condos," 16 Apr. 2018 The steel and glass house sits on a hillside location next to a creek, curving sinuously across three levels. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Three-tiered glass masterpiece asks $16.8M," 26 Dec. 2018 The result was exquisitely made pieces that were as celebrated as much for their quality as for their simplified, modern forms — think Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chair or Alvar Aalto’s gently curving birch-and-beech wood chair. Hillary Brown, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Mid-Century Modern Design," 13 Sep. 2018 On the shin is a mini extension that curves upward like a thorny vestigial tail. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Fecal Matter Has Made Its Photoshopped Skin Shoes Into Actual Wearable Heels—And They're $10,000," 24 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So, trade functions were randomly failing, and a range of the curve in a way could break games. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Android Q(&A): Android Engineers take us on a deep dive of Android Q," 3 July 2019 Splyce's Call of Duty coach Mark Bryceland says his team are ahead of the curve in that respect. Ben Church And Patrick Sung, CNN, "The elite military veterans nurturing the new generation of professional gamers," 1 July 2019 Pressed by financial executives in attendance about the yield curve or whether the Fed would cut rates to fulfill stock market expectations, Powell repeated, a few times, that Fed policy is based on long-term economic and financial conditions. Kevin J. Delaney, Quartz, "Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell pushes back against political meddling," 25 June 2019 Twisted metal comes up off the bottom just in front of the third house north of the curve on A1A. The shipwreck is popular among sea anglers. John Christopher Fine,, "Boynton Beach’s maritime past lives on with Lofthus shipwreck," 21 June 2019 Photo: Getty Images As one of the most fashion-forward players in the NBA, Ibaka has consistently been ahead of the curve with his style. Vogue, "Serge Ibaka Celebrated the Toronto Raptors’s Championship Win in Style," 14 June 2019 By watching for pulses that arrive at Earth not quite on schedule, astronomers hope to learn about the weird curves and bends in space-time that can stretch or squeeze the signals, delaying or hastening their travels. Sarah Scoles, Discover Magazine, "Getting to Know Pulsars, the Lighthouses of the Cosmos," 12 June 2019 That section of roadway is mostly straight, though there are dips and small curves that create blind spots., "Mass. man charged with 7 counts of negligent homicide in N.H. crash," 24 June 2019 The county began identifying potential safety fixes, like taking down trees and vegetation to improve visibility on narrow turns and installing guardrails and realigning curves or widening shoulders in other areas., "Buckle up: Northwest Cornelius Pass Road will close for 11 weeks, expect delays and detours abound," 24 June 2019

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


1666, 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

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

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More Definitions for curve



English Language Learners Definition of curve

 (Entry 1 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 2 of 2)

: a smooth, rounded line, shape, path, etc.
technical : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on curve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curve

Spanish Central: Translation of curve

Nglish: Translation of curve for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on curve

What made you want to look up curve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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