\ˈkərv \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from curve


curvy \ˈkər-vē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for curve

Synonyms: Verb

arch, bend, bow, crook, hook, swerve

Synonyms: Noun

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

Antonyms: Verb

straighten, unbend, uncurl

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Ariel accommodated a variety of breast sizes, accomplished with shoulder straps that curve higher into the armpit, rather than around the mid-torso. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 The heart of Gilded Age Los Angeles is Bel Air, a community of curving lanes and hillside mansions where a Hollywood legend lurks behind every hedge and gate. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "In the second Gilded Age, the mansions get bigger, and the homeless get closer," 16 May 2018 Either way, there was a good chance somebody was going to strike out looking at a pitch coming at their heads before curving over the plate or a rising fastball might sail over the catcher. Ron Higgins,, "Wild Thing and Nuke were all over the place in LSU baseball's SEC opening win," 17 Mar. 2018 Faurecia also has touch screens that can be put on curving surfaces, so interior designs won’t have to include a big flat panel. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Not far off: Your car becomes an extension of your brain," 4 Mar. 2018 The Walden Woods community consists of 336 homes and includes New England-style houses on curving roads with woods and a pond. Hartford Courant,, "Property of the Week: Country Walk, Windsor," 29 June 2017 Central to the ceiling is a gridlike sculpture of curved crisscrossed slats and beams. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Stir, in Philadelphia Museum of Art, Prepares for October Opening," 10 July 2018 There's the first door; the main entrance where the line curves around the block where 99 percent of the people are waiting hoping to get in. Rob Ledonne, Billboard, "'The Third Door' Author Alex Banayan on Seeking Life Advice From Quincy Jones, Lady Gaga, Pitbull & More," 12 June 2018 The makeover is most evident on the phone's back, which is now covered in Gorilla Glass that curves at the edges like the Moto X4. Jeffrey Van Camp, WIRED, "Motorola Adds Some Class (and Glass) to Its Budget Phones," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the last three years, the movement toward inclusivity in the industry has made strides to include curve models like Ashley Graham, Paloma Elsesser, and Barbie Ferreira. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "There Was Only One Plus Size Model During Men's Fashion Week," 13 July 2018 On the curves: And here’s where the Stelvio just can’t come close to the Giulia. Scott Sturgis,, "2018 Stelvio rounds out the Alfa Romeo lineup," 12 July 2018 Capofaro’s architecture is classical, with arches and columns that curve outward slightly, like barrels. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 The space savings comes around sink level, as the wall curves in to allow a row of three seats to be tucked on the other side of the wall, under the bend. Mary Schlangenstein,, "Airline bathrooms are getting smaller — you’re not imagining it," 10 July 2018 An 18-wheel truck crashed with several cars on the Palmetto Expressway, limiting westbound traffic to the outside shoulder on the big curve to southbound lanes. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Jackknifed 18-wheeler jacking up Palmetto Expressway traffic," 9 July 2018 There’s an attrition curve that’s reasonably consistent across games. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "The Quiet, Steady Dominance of Pokémon Go," 6 July 2018 For whitewater and rivers, paddlers often want a board that is wide (34-plus inches) and short (ten feet or less), with a lot of rocker (the curve from tip to tail). Dylan Silver, Outside Online, "The Best Stand-Up Paddleboards of 2018," 5 July 2018 From the Bedford Avenue station, in Williamsburg, the L line snakes across northern Brooklyn, with a number of tight, slow curves. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about curve

Statistics for curve

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curve

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

: 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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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