curve·​ball | \ ˈkərv-ˌbȯl How to pronounce curveball (audio) \

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

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Other Words from curveball

curveball verb

Examples of curveball in a Sentence

The batter struck out on a curveball.
Recent Examples on the Web For candy companies like Hershey's, Halloween is the biggest season for sales, and the pandemic threw it a curveball. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, "Halloween is going to look very different during the pandemic. Here's how," 17 Oct. 2020 Hernandez, 0 for 6 in the playoffs until then, was the first player to homer on a curveball by Fried since Bryce Harper on Sept. 10, 2019. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Riley HR ignites big Braves 9th in 5-1 NLCS win over Dodgers," 13 Oct. 2020 Cole started him off with an 84-mph curveball for a strike. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Gerrit Cole sets stage, Giancarlo Stanton hits grand slam as Yankees beat Rays in Game 1 of ALDS," 6 Oct. 2020 American shoppers—distracted and fearful as 2020 enters the final quarter—could still throw analysts expecting a record holiday a curveball in the kind of rip-the-rug-out revelation that’s become this year’s signature play. Jordyn Holman,, "Election, Pandemic Are One-Two Punch in Retail’s Most Crucial Season," 6 Oct. 2020 Banker, a left-hander, tops out at 88 mph on his fastball to go with a curveball and change-up. Bob Narang,, "Recruiting notes: Indiana, UNLV and UCLA among college football teams keeping an eye on Fenwick wide receiver Eian Pugh," 2 Oct. 2020 With two outs in the seventh, Tyler Duffey fooled Martin Maldonado with a curveball that dived into the dirt, and got a routine bouncer to third, perhaps with a little extra topspin, as his reward. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Two fielding plays doom Twins in tight loss to Astros," 30 Sep. 2020 Bauer struck out five with his slider, five with his fastballs, one with a cutter and one with a curveball. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "Trevor Bauer makes postseason history, but Cincinnati Reds drop Game 1 heartbreaker," 30 Sep. 2020 Really opened my eyes to how good that pitch is (change-up), same with the curveball. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Matthew Boyd didn't meet expectations. Why he now has a 'clear direction'," 29 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of curveball

1936, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for curveball

Time Traveler

The first known use of curveball was in 1936

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Statistics for curveball

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curveball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for curveball


How to pronounce curveball (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of curveball

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

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