\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Second, my large toe was starting to curve inward toward its neighbors due to a bunion, a common condition called hallux valgus. Outside Online, 28 Apr. 2022 The trees’ trunks take a sharp, 90-degree turn and then curve to form a shape resembling the letter J. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 Places where the stone might curve left or fade right a little too much. Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2022 The company is using flexible OLED panels, which allow the screen to seamlessly curve over the exercise bike. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 4 Jan. 2022 Your legs do not need to straighten fully; a microbend in the knees will allow the spine to naturally curve and reduce strain in the lower back. Jenni Gritters, Outside Online, 12 Oct. 2018 Murphy said the accident location is west of the intersection of Huntsville Road and Hunt Lane where Huntsville Road begins to curve to the northwest. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 29 Dec. 2021 Heated conversations between Lawrence (Jay Ellis) and Condola (Christina Elmore) curve their paths—and the paths, consequently, of Issa and everyone else in their orbit. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 9 Dec. 2021 To slow down, divers attempt to curve their bodies back to a horizontal position in about five seconds. New York Times, 3 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In California, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon, prolonging restrictions by just one month helped flatten the curve of deaths, though at no point could a surge in death rates be prevented. Tasnim Ahmed, CNN, 4 Apr. 2022 And unlike humans, deer have no tools for flattening the curve. New York Times, 7 Feb. 2022 When Americans were forced to follow stay-at-home orders to help flatten the curve, many people turned to telework to stay productive. Michael Plummer, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 These all augur in favor of aggressive actions to flatten the curve of infections. WSJ, 30 Jan. 2022 The target was somewhat arbitrary, and aimed at flattening the curve of the current surge because boosters have proven extremely effective at keeping people out of the hospital with COVID-19. oregonlive, 23 Jan. 2022 So, almost unbelievably, the near-term fate of the health-care system once again hinges on flattening the curve—on slowing the spread of the most transmissible variant yet, in a matter of days rather than weeks. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 7 Jan. 2022 To flatten the curve, physicians are targeting patients who have tested positive and who have underlying risk factors but who are not yet seriously sick. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 But epidemiologists are once again talking about flattening the curve, through mask wearing and more cautious behavior. Joseph Goldstein,, 5 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near curve

curvature of field



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Cite this Entry

“Curve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for curve


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on curve

Nglish: Translation of curve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curve for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about curve


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