curve·ball | \ ˈkərv-ˌbȯl \

Definition of curveball 

: a slow or moderately fast baseball pitch thrown with spin to make it swerve downward and usually to the left when thrown from the right hand or to the right when thrown from the left hand

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from curveball

curveball verb

Examples of curveball in a Sentence

The batter struck out on a curveball.

Recent Examples on the Web

Lightweight denim is an eternal spring style option: the perfect shirt to handle the changing temperatures and curveball weather that spring always seems to bring. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "The Weird and Wild Denim Shirt Is a Crucial Spring Style Swerve," 23 Apr. 2018 His stuff includes a mid-80s fastball along with a curveball, slider and change-up. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Max-imum effort: Max Engstrom settles down after the first inning in pitching St. Laurence past St. Rita," 11 July 2018 But Global Blood also threw a risky, regulatory curveball into its announcement about the drug, known as voxelotor. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Global Blood’s sickle cell drug works, but can FDA be persuaded to review it faster?," 27 June 2018 However, a flat curveball to Starlin Castro ended up in center for an RBI single shortly after. Harvey Fialkov, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller remains positive after rough return against Marlins," 25 June 2018 The exit velocity on the groundball was clocked at 72 mph, the speed of a modest curveball, the sort of roller destined for an infielder's glove. Andy Mccullough,, "Phillies defense comes to aid of Dodgers, who have won 9 of 11," 29 May 2018 With two different fastballs that sat 94-95 mph, a confounding slider/cutter combo, and a filthy curveball, Arrieta became expert at getting hitters to chase pitches out of the zone. Michael Beller,, "Why Can't Jake Arrieta Strike Anybody Out Anymore?," 24 May 2018 Reddick laid off three consecutive pitches — the second a tantalizing curveball that dotted the bottom of the strike zone. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros overcome 4-run deficit to defeat Rangers in 10 innings," 4 July 2018 Mercer hit a 1-2 curveball into left for a two-run double. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks drop finale to Pirates," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curveball.' 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 curveball

1936, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about curveball

Phrases Related to curveball

some/a few curves/curveballs

Statistics for curveball

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curveball

The first known use of curveball was in 1936

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for curveball



English Language Learners Definition of curveball

baseball : a pitch that is thrown with spin so that the ball curves in the air

More from Merriam-Webster on curveball

See words that rhyme with curveball

Comments on curveball

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


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!