\ 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
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 In profile, Cybertruck’s flattened pyramidal shape was all lines and angles, the only curves its wheels. NBC News, "Tesla shares plunge by 6 percent after disastrous launch of electric pickup truck," 22 Nov. 2019 The route, which curved down from Greenwich Village, then through Washington Square Park, before finishing in the center of Union Square, was broken into twenty-five segments, each roughly the length of a city block. Nathan Taylor Pemberton, The New Yorker, "Crawling Through New York City with the Artist Pope.L," 22 Nov. 2019 Detailed work will need to be performed, such as making sure the women’s heads are at the right tilt and the ends of the granite base are curved perfectly. Susan Haigh And Joseph Frederick,, "There are no Central Park statues honoring real-life women. A Ridgefield artist is going to change that.," 21 Nov. 2019 McLaughlin’s chance to become an improbable hero curved wide left, like a golfer smacking a duck-hook off the tee. Ron Kroichick,, "49ers kicker Chase McLaughlin makes three, misses chance to win game in OT," 11 Nov. 2019 Its interior lines are long and curving; colors are pale. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$2M mansion on the side of a hill is made for art and cider lovers," 2 Nov. 2019 Buyers will find bold statement fireplaces, textured feature walls, spa-like master bathrooms, rotundas with curving staircases, and modern exterior designs featuring painted brick and unique rooflines for maximum curb appeal. Houston Chronicle, "Cutting-edge, modern designs shine in new Artavia community," 26 Oct. 2019 This will be the second season of snack and beverage service in a sightseeing Lounge Car with windows curving from the ceiling nearly down to the floor. John Meyer, The Know, "Winter Park Express ski train expanding service to include all Fridays," 23 Oct. 2019 Some got more than two feet long; others were festooned in curving spines that were likely used to dissuade jawed fish and other would-be predators. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Fossil 'conga lines' reveal origins of animal swarms," 17 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Get our daily newsletter Few economists think a yield curve inversion itself causes a slowdown. The Economist, "America’s yield curve is no longer inverted," 14 Nov. 2019 Even the bond market, which was flashing red at the end of the summer when the yield curve inverted, now looks a milder yellow. Heather Long,, "After a summer of panic, fears of a U.S. recession ease a bit," 6 Nov. 2019 But the completeness of his performance last week backed up Miller’s offseason suggestions Franklin is ahead of the curve for his age. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU freshman Armaan Franklin learning new position on the fly, but ahead of the curve," 4 Nov. 2019 One man ahead of the curve on that advice is 68-year-old Bob Cipolla. Kevin Fagan,, "Powerless: How PG&E put the burden of stopping fires on the shoulders of millions," 12 Oct. 2019 Some Big Time restaurants, such as Elisabetta’s Ristorante in Delray Beach, are getting ahead of the curve with newer electronic devices that look like traditional check presenters (complete with a fold-over cover). Michael Mayo,, "Diner beware: A few tips about tips in South Florida’s restaurant minefield | Michael Mayo," 28 Sep. 2019 Head to Dermstore to stock up on Serum 16 now to stay ahead of the curve. Christie Calucchia,, "This Kim Kardashian-Approved Anti-Aging Serum Evens and Firms My Skin Overnight," 27 Sep. 2019 On Wednesday, the country received perhaps the strongest signal yet of an upcoming recession when the yield curve briefly inverted and the returns for short-term U.S. bonds eclipsed those of long-term investments. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Do Democrats Have a Plan for the Next Recession?," 16 Aug. 2019 That announcement brought the stock market up sharply higher on Tuesday, but all of those gains evaporated in minutes Wednesday amid fears about the yield curve. Damian Paletta,, "Dow plunges 800 points as recession fears mount," 14 Aug. 2019

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


1666, 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.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on curve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curve

Spanish Central: Translation of curve

Nglish: Translation of curve for Spanish Speakers

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

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