\ 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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As cases continue to spike across the country, wearing a mask remains as one the most important ways to protect yourself and your community while helping to flatten the curve. Erin Parker, Glamour, "Best Amazon Prime Day Deals 2020: 47 Fashion Deals to Snatch Up Immediately," 13 Oct. 2020 And the shutdown did flatten the curve, greatly diminishing fatalities and hospital overload. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Andrew Cuomo, the King of New York," 12 Oct. 2020 Since then, however, New York was able to flatten the curve and now has the nation’s third lowest rate (after Maine and Massachusetts) of new infections with 1.18, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center. NBC News, "22 days from Election Day, pandemic shows no sign of slowing as U.S. edges closer to 8 million cases," 12 Oct. 2020 The rise in cases prompted new restrictions in Jakarta, the capital, in mid-September, which the government says has helped bend the curve slightly. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Indonesia Has 270 Million People—and One of the World’s Lowest Covid-19 Testing Rates," 8 Oct. 2020 That behind-the-curve feeling extends to the interior, where expected contemporary details such as one-touch-down power windows, cruise control, adjustable lumbar support on the front seats, and a tilting steering wheel are all M.I.A. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1999 Laforza Speciale Edition Reimagines an Unusual SUV," 29 Sep. 2020 The world now knows how to bend the curve of the pandemic — not to eliminate risk, but to keep it to a manageable level — and there have been surprises along the way. Richard Pérez-peña, New York Times, "Coronavirus Deaths Pass One Million Worldwide," 28 Sep. 2020 Already behind the curve as other Power Five teams play as many as 11 games, the Big Ten champion has little room for error in making a case to the selection committee. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Start of SEC kickoff brings boost to college football season," 23 Sep. 2020 But even with the mandates, not nearly enough Americans needed to bend the curve for the infection rate are using face masks, one expert said Friday. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "20,000 more Americans could die from Covid-19 in the next 21 days, CDC ensemble forecast shows," 2 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 30 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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Comments on curve

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