\ 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 By Thursday, the storm will most likely begin to curve more north-northeast, riding along the coast and impacting Odisha. Jennifer Gray, CNN, 10 May 2022 While there aren’t tree species that curve to this extent in nature, the eastern redbud tree is an example of a tree that has a weird shape that is naturally occurring. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gary Cohn, former president of Goldman Sachs, formerly Trump economic adviser, said the Fed was clearly behind the curve, clearly late in raising rates, and now the runway for a soft landing is now much shorter and narrower. CBS News, 19 June 2022 What is so striking regarding the rise in inflation is what a slow yet inexorable process this has been, with the Federal Reserve and White House consistently behind the curve. WSJ, 17 June 2022 Critics say the Fed was behind the curve last year as inflation picked up pace, stoked by stimulus spending and rock-bottom borrowing costs. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 May 2022 There's a possibility that the Fed may be too far behind the curve to be able to ease inflation without inflicting economic hardship on Americans. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 16 May 2022 So that, alone, would have put me behind the curve. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 This Fed, however, has been behind the curve and is really late to the party. Robert Barone, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 But the sad cycle of energy and commodity price increases accompanied by wage and salary demands will continue to drive inflation and leave the Fed hopelessly behind the curve in fighting it. David Meyer, Fortune, 17 Mar. 2022 Her purple patterned bodycon dress hugged every curve, and opened in a slit up the skirt that was then detailed with a series of buttons. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 6 June 2022 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 2 Jul. 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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