\ 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

The seatback curves to the doors and ends at padded armrests. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV: a royal rite of passage," 2 Aug. 2019 Under Deep Isolation’s plan, individual boreholes would be drilled vertically about one to two miles deep and, using horizontal drilling techniques, the borehole would gradually curve sideways and run along a rock formation. Rob Nikolewski, Los Angeles Times, "Finding a repository for San Onofre plant’s nuclear waste is a difficult task," 27 July 2019 His late work would increasingly be defined by softly curving facades of glass, and a determination to find quiet, understated but memorable sculptural form, part of a lifelong search for alternatives to the boxy towers of midcentury modernism. New York Times, "Cesar Pelli, Designer of Iconic Buildings Around the World, Dies at 92," 20 July 2019 The two explosions sent hot metal shrapnel flying upward, curving in long arcs over the remote desert town. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter One: A Quiet Man," 15 July 2019 The Topekas are affordable sport frames with grippy rubber nose pads that curve around my face to keep out sun, wind, and peripheral glare. Adrienne So, WIRED, "The Best Sunglasses for Every Outdoor Occasion," 5 July 2019 The Good Humor story dips and curves along the same route that America paved in the 20th century. Ron Hurtibise,, "With much Good Humor, vintage ice cream trucks serve nostalgia on a stick," 4 July 2019 The full-speed-ahead cycling herd: The Market Street corner where Polk Street curves slightly left and turns into 10th Street is a bit chaotic. Leah Garchik,, "And (almost finally), some of the things I hate," 19 June 2019 Made of 250,000 different steel elements bolted together in curving sections and covered in glass fiber–reinforced concrete, the building sprawls like scattered, overlapping petals at the edge of the Persian Gulf. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Heyward led off the sixth with a single to left, but Bryant struck out on a 3-2 curve from Adam Wainwright that was several inches wide of the strike zone. Mark Gonzales,, "Paul Goldschmidt knocks the Cubs into 2nd place in the NL Central with a tiebreaking HR: ‘He’s a monster’," 31 July 2019 There are good reasons why yield-curve inversions tend to precede recessions. The Economist, "Yield curves help predict economic growth across the rich world," 27 July 2019 While the mix isn’t overpowering, he’s shown improved sequencing, pitch usage (heavier reliance on the curve), and command to dominate. Alex Speier,, "Marcus Wilson makes most of demotion to regain his footing," 27 July 2019 Cordova Ski Suit The high-end activewear line, founded in 2016, sells sleek, curve-hugging ski suits inspired by the ’60s and ’70s. Michele Corriston,, "Shop Kathryn Dennis' Red-Hot, $1K Sexy Ski Outfit from Southern Charm," 25 July 2019 Fortunately, the average listener doesn’t have to root for Flaural while listening to its songs, giving it DIY points or grading it on a curve against more accomplished national acts. John Wenzel, The Know, "Flaural is one of Colorado’s best bands, even if it’s hardly ever here," 25 July 2019 In fact the site crashed after the first collection dropped, serving up trend-savvy, statement-making pieces — crop tops, curve-hugging dresses, bold silhouettes. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "4 People on the Importance of Premme for the Plus-Size Community," 24 July 2019 This looks like one of those occasions where the yield curve inversion at the front end is signaling a potential recession. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Once a Lonely Bond Bull, HSBC’s Steven Major Takes Stock of This Year’s Rally," 28 June 2019 That's because yield curve inversions, which occur when short-term rates move higher than longer-term bond yields, have been pretty reliable predictors of economic recessions. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "May's weak jobs report is the latest sign of a US economic slowdown," 7 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).


to shake or wave menacingly

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