\ 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 Most unusual are the walls of this foyer, which curve around to make an oval room. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Location of lavish $2.2M Birmingham home is a big selling point," 19 Dec. 2020 Using your other hand, hold and curve the piece against the mandrel [4]. Nick Moreau, Popular Mechanics, "Make a Gift: A Copper Bracelet for That Special Someone," 5 Dec. 2020 The storm is expected to curve back toward Florida and make landfall late Friday or early Saturday in the northern part of the state. Carlie Wells,, "Hurricane forecasters tracking 3 disturbances, including Tropical Storm Eta in Gulf," 9 Nov. 2020 Lifts and tints curve the lashes and gives them some color, explained Petropoulos. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With people wearing masks, area salons are helping people smile with their eyes. Here's what's popular.," 6 Nov. 2020 The new dining room is dominated by a large fireplace and the walls curve to meet the ceiling. Richard A. Marini,, "Couple spent $200K on historic Olmos Park Tudor home renovation to strip away 1980s touches and upgrade the kitchen, master suite," 30 Oct. 2020 Once Delta moves through Mexico, the storm is expected to curve in the Gulf of Mexico and take aim around Friday on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Hurricane Delta 'rapidly intensifies' to Category 4 storm, takes aim at Cancun before US Gulf Coast," 6 Oct. 2020 These are powered by a conveyor belt, which spins the stone, allowing the robot to curve its trajectory, just like a human player does. Matt Simon, Wired, "Meet Curly, the Curling Robot That Beats the Pros," 23 Sep. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The financial curve, that needs to be, that gap needs to be shrunk. Randi Richardson, NBC News, "'Up the ante': What players, NBA are doing for racial justice," 29 Dec. 2020 Still, while many people ‘sheltered in place’ at home to ‘flatten the curve’, the number of cases — and deaths — ticked upward in St. Tammany Parish. Andrew Canulette,, "Despite the polarizing disputes over COVID-19, there's no doubt it's the Story of the Year," 29 Dec. 2020 This trend argues in favor of higher rates and a steeper Korean yield curve, which is already set in motion. Hooyeon Kim,, "Global Recovery Trade Sees Korean Bonds in Investors’ Crosshairs," 20 Dec. 2020 Pfizer, Moderna vaccines will begin 'bending the curve' Monday's 189 boxes of vaccine are just the start. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Role-playing, planning for earthquakes, mass training: US health care centers prep for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine," 14 Dec. 2020 Precision is central to the duo’s artistic brand — in its otherworldly close harmonies, ahead-of-the-curve fashion and transcendent videos — and a DIY set didn’t immediately sound like a natural fit. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "How Chloe x Halle Left Their Mark on R&B By Showing Their 'Imperfect Side'," 3 Dec. 2020 However, with the current coronavirus outbreak and the need to stay home and flatten the curve, pajamas, comfortable loungewear, and, in this case, sporty sweatsuit attire are all becoming more important than ever. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "17 Matching Sweatsuits to Wear (and Work in!) at Home," 2 Dec. 2020 The first four gears are tightly spaced and well matched to the engine's torque curve, which is high and flat to 4000 rpm. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line Powers Up the Family Sedan," 23 Nov. 2020 When buildings were still made by hand, the process would yield the occasional curve—igloos, mud huts, wigwams, yurts—and master builders earned their keep with arches and domes. Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, "The Art of Building the Impossible," 23 Nov. 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 19 Jan. 2021.

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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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