\ 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

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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 If and when the storm forms, most forecast models keep the storm just off the southeastern coast before curving it back out farther into the Atlantic. Judson Jones, CNN, "Arthur, the first named storm of the hurricane season, is likely to form today off the coast of Florida," 16 May 2020 At the center entrance, the wide, curving staircase, the large foyer beside it and the landing at its top have walls two stories high covered with ivory jacquard silk. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "This might be the grandest mansion ever built at Windmill Pointe," 16 May 2020 Mary O’Rahilly, in the middle, was a snail curved around her own bump. Emma Donoghue, The Atlantic, "The Blood Tax," 12 May 2020 The lenses bend light in a way that creates a blind spot between them, curving light rays around a ruler, hand, or some other small object, rendering it invisible when viewed through their aperture. Nathaniel Scharping, Smithsonian Magazine, "‘The Invisible Man’ Isn’t Real, but This Invisibility Technology Is," 28 Feb. 2020 Ghosting, breadcrumbing, paperclipping, stashing… get ready to add another dating term to your vocabulary: curving. Erika W. Smith,, "Curving: Another Terrible Dating Trend," 29 Jan. 2020 The trunk has decent space at 13.5 cubic feet, but it is oddly shaped, curving around the wheel wells with a rather narrow trunk-lid opening, at least for loading large boxes. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2020 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400: treading a thin line," 13 Oct. 2019 Although the current forecast shows landfall along the east coast of Florida, there is a chance the storm could curve up the coast before hitting land, perhaps even tracking into Georgia or the Carolinas. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "5 things that make Dorian a dangerous hurricane," 29 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, the display is curved along the left and right sides, just like a Samsung or OnePlus phone. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "LG’s “Velvet” smartphone packs a Snapdragon 765 and headphone jack," 20 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From her fashion and hair, to her music and lifestyle, the new Mrs. Alan Ferguson is always ahead of the curve and authentically cool. Yolanda Sangweni, Essence, "21 Times Solange Showed Us She Has the Coolest Life Ever," 24 June 2020 And remember this: Just being on a taxi squad and acclimating to big league life will be helpful, putting them ahead of the curve for next season. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Six burning questions as Detroit Tigers get close to return: Lakeland a sure thing?," 23 June 2020 Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Lina Hildago is trying to get residents to help flatten the curve by requiring business patrons to wear masks beginning today. Savannah Mehrtens, Houston Chronicle, "Coronavirus update: Governor, County judge urge Humble area residents to wear masks," 23 June 2020 Still others, like Mobile, which at one point had the worst outbreak in the state, have at least started to flatten the curve a bit. Ramsey Archibald |, al, "Top spots to watch in Alabama as coronavirus cases surge in June," 20 June 2020 Americans have been arguing for years over whether the Supreme Court responds to the culture or changes it, whether its decisions reflect views the public already has or pushes forward values ahead of the curve. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "The True Return of LGBTQ+ Pride," 19 June 2020 As the pandemic has shown, the consequences are bleak in a world that does not foster ahead-of-the-curve science. Patricia Deverka, STAT, "Covid-19 and remdesivir: rethinking how we measure a drug’s ‘value’," 15 June 2020 That has more than wiped out its sharp rally over the prior few days, which had been sparked by a steepening of the yield curve—long-term rates going up more than short-term ones—following the surprisingly strong jobs report. ... Telis Demos, WSJ, "Stop Riding the Rates Roller Coaster with Banks," 11 June 2020 Its sixteen-valve 1.6-liter inline-four now uses a variable-intake-valve-timing-and-lift mechanism similar to the NSX's to boost peak output from last year's 108 horsepower to 125, without sacrificing the flexibility of the power curve. Kevin Smith, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1992 Honda Civic Si Hatchback Hits All the Right Marks," 5 June 2020

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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Statistics for curve

Cite this Entry

“Curve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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