\ 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 Halfway down, a landing starts a second set of stairs that curve back toward the kitchen. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$2.6 million Oakland County retreat built on remains of 100-year-old golf course," 12 Sep. 2020 Coastlines that curve inward or that have gently sloping continental shelves are more vulnerable to storm surges, because the water has more time to pile up as the storm gradually moves into shallower areas. Amy Mckeever, National Geographic, "Why hurricane storm surges are so dangerous," 26 Aug. 2020 The weakened storm is predicted to curve east through Kentucky and Tennessee by Friday evening. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Flooded streets, buildings in ruins: Photos show Hurricane Laura's path of destruction," 27 Aug. 2020 The weakened storm was predicted to curve east through Kentucky and Tennessee by Friday evening. USA Today, "Hurricane Laura: Its path, damage and risks ahead," 27 Aug. 2020 Pasadena Health Center has been working to help curve the pandemic and to help school children in the area. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Pasadena business notebook: Chevron donates $50,000 to health center," 21 Aug. 2020 Laura, which was moving west from the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean on Friday, was expected to curve north after crossing Cuba and hit somewhere between southwestern Louisiana and the Florida panhandle a day later. Carlie Wells,, "Dual storms set to hit the Gulf Coast early next week, with Laura aiming at New Orleans," 21 Aug. 2020 The news comes only a few months since Comscore, the analytics company that generates box office grosses, reported no revenue over the weekend in March days after theaters across the U.S. closed in efforts to help curve the COVID-19 outbreak. Ale Russian,, "Harry Potter Nears the $1 Billion Mark 19 Years After Opening Thanks to China Re-Release," 17 Aug. 2020 Some barely curve around a foul pole into the first row of seats, others are caught by the Wrigley Field ball hawkers on Waveland Avenue. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, "Column: Let's make baseball weirder with even more new rules," 1 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The imprecision represents an opportunity, then: a chance to navigate a safer, flatter curve into the future. Adam Federman, Wired, "The Trump Team Has a Plan to Not Fight Climate Change," 15 Sep. 2020 This finally retires the defunct Phillips curve, a 60-year-old observation that low unemployment causes high inflation and vice versa. Douglas Carr, National Review, "The Fed’s New Framework Can’t Solve Its Old Problem," 14 Sep. 2020 The curve of a cabriole leg against a Parsons table? House Beautiful, "How Jamie Drake Finds a Healthy Mix of Materials in Every Home He Designs," 31 Aug. 2020 Trajectory curve of bullets from most bottleneck cartridges in the .243 Win. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "What’s the Best Distance to Zero A Hunting Rifle?," 19 Aug. 2020 The curve of coronavirus exposure, far from flattening or staying flat, has skyrocketed nationally. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Covid-19 and the limits of individual liberty," 13 Aug. 2020 Most use sensors that let a person’s unique features—the curve of an ear, the shape of a forehead—prove their identity. Jackie Snow, National Geographic, "Nano needles. Facial recognition. Air travel adapts to make travel safer," 13 Aug. 2020 Ducey seemed to rely on the state's epidemic curve — a more precise depiction of positivity over time, but one that can weeks to accurately backfill. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Biden slams Arizona's response to COVID-19 pandemic days after praise from Trump, Birx at White House," 7 Aug. 2020 To my surprise, the curve of one street, East Florence Court, evoked a misty memory of enchanted houses and pretty flowers. David C. Holzman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Heeding her invitation, six decades later," 5 Aug. 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 1 Oct. 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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