\ 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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Other Words from curve


curvy \ ˈkər-​vē How to pronounce curvy (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for curve

Synonyms: Verb

arc, arch, bend, bow, crook, fall off, hook, round, sweep, swerve, trend, wheel

Synonyms: Noun

angle, arc, arch, bend, bow, crook, curvature, inflection, turn, wind

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of curve in a Sentence


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.


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

First designed and built by engineer Hawley Bowlus in 1934, the Bowlus Road Chief was inspired by the curving forms and long horizontal lines of the Art Moderne period. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Aluminum trailer combines ‘30s style with modern amenities," 6 Nov. 2018 After Thomas Partey earned a foul outside the area, Griezmann curved a free kick over the defensive barrier and into the corner of the net to level in the 45th. Joseph Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Barcelona increases lead in Spain as rivals drop points," 6 Jan. 2019 My senses were blasted with a kaleidoscope of colorful, curving, intricate forms; evidence of Mackintosh’s fascination with nature, symbolism and mysticism. Sam Lubell, New York Times, "A Glasgow Architect’s Masterpiece Is Damaged, but Not His Magic," 2 July 2018 Another room, previously used as an office, has a curving wall of tall casement windows and a glass door leading outside. Carol Riordan,, "Property of the Week: 59 Papermill Road, Glastonbury," 28 Dec. 2017 To shape Scotch broom or similar foliage, wrap it with fine wire and bend it to form and curve you desire. Maggie O'neill, Good Housekeeping, "25 Practical Tips for Flower Arrangements From 1952," 7 May 2015 The planet suddenly acts as a lens for the star's light, curving it as it would be seen from Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Two More Mysterious Rogue Planets Found," 9 Nov. 2018 Even without her visor, the hood of her fitted black hoodie comes up over her head, and her chest is curved inward, her guardedness a contrast to her open smile and bearing on TV talk shows and red carpets. Meredith Talusan, SELF, "Trans Is Beautiful: Laverne Cox on the Work of Self-Love," 17 Oct. 2018 Michael’s current forecast track suggests the storm could curve eastward and dump rain on the Carolinas, which are still recovering from the intense flooding brought by Hurricane Florence last month. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Storm Near Gulf of Mexico Aims for Florida’s Panhandle," 7 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The goal is for the spacecraft to fall off the edge of the planet’s curve. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Virgin Galactic Hype Totally Misses the Point," 13 Dec. 2018 At the lower end of the age curve, the opposite holds true. Andrew Van Dam,, "A record number of folks age 85 and older are working. Here's what they're doing," 5 July 2018 The driver was carrying produce in the truck and failed to negotiate the curve, according to Tiffany Bush, a highway patrol spokeswoman. Ian Cummings, Joe Robertson, Robert A. Cronkleton And Tammy Ljungblad, kansascity, "'Miracle he's alive': Driver hospitalized after semi truck falls off overpass in KCK," 25 June 2018 Rather than asset sales knocking the economic expansion off track, the risk may be that policy makers get behind the curve and financial conditions become too loose. Enda Curran,, "Easy Money Era Endures Even as Central Banks Unwind Stimulus," 17 June 2018 Hull made an unsuccessful attempt to get by on the last lap's back straight, another entering the curve, and had the lead coming onto the straight. Ken Goe,, "USC claims the NCAA women's track championship as the Oregon Ducks wilt in the rain," 9 June 2018 Our city has always been ahead of the curve on transitioning our sirens to models that better protect New Yorker’s hearing. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "New York City Council Members Want to Dial Down Sirens," 13 Feb. 2019 Some East Coasters likely have some catching up to do with No Sesso, but as always, Venus X remains ahead of the curve—in fact, the stylish DJ has already been spotted in the brand-new collection. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Venus X Is Already Wearing This New York Fashion Week’s Breakout Collection," 7 Feb. 2019 Three projectors in perfect synchronization covered the entire surface of the curve, and the goal was a sense of total immersion for the audience. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018

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

The first known use of curve was in the 15th century

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on curve

What made you want to look up curve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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