Definition of curveball in English:



  • 1A delivery in which the pitcher causes the ball to deviate from a straight path by imparting spin.

    ‘his three-speed curveball enabled him to win 20 games in two different seasons’
    • ‘I knew Jimmy had to go with the curveball for the tenth pitch of the at-bat.’
    • ‘He is mixing his pitches better and throwing his curveball, a pitch he abandoned during the first two months.’
    • ‘He can throw a variety of pitches: two- and four-seam fastballs, curveballs, sliders, knuckle curves and cut fastballs.’
    • ‘He has stopped relying so heavily on his fastball and has begun to use his curveball and changeup as his primary pitches.’
    • ‘The statistics don't reflect, for instance, how many times pitchers plunk batters with changeups, curveballs or other off-speed pitches, or how much effort a hitter makes to get out of the way.’
    • ‘In Webb's case, it may be easier for him to develop his overhand curveball into a high-quality pitch.’
    • ‘My fastball was unhittable, my changeup was devastating, and my curveball dropped off the face of the earth.’
    • ‘His most successful pitch has been a slow curveball that has been especially tough on right-handed hitters.’
    • ‘In his simulated game, his pitches were down and his curveball had bite.’
    • ‘He wasn't getting the same snap on his curveball, and his control wasn't sharp.’
    • ‘His side sessions have revealed the same, old life on his curveball, slider and split-finger pitch.’
    • ‘He also mixes in a curveball, another offspeed pitch he regularly throws for strikes.’
    • ‘Now that his back is feeling better, Estes is better able to locate his pitches, particularly his curveball.’
    • ‘He must regain confidence in his three pitches - changeup, fastball and curveball.’
    • ‘His main breaking pitch is a slider, but he mixes in a curveball on occasion.’
    • ‘Snyder thinks he's snapping his curveball off too hard and that's causing him to rush his delivery.’
    • ‘In the game, he threw 228 pitches, including fastballs, knucklers, sliders and curveballs.’
    • ‘Unlike some minor league power hitters who struggle with major league curveballs, he can hit breaking pitches as well as fastballs.’
    1. 1.1North American informal Something which is unexpected, surprising, or disruptive.
      ‘there's always a curveball on every mission’
      • ‘But as has happened so often in O'Neal's life, she got hit with a curveball.’
      • ‘He's flexible, and he can handle life's curve balls without throwing a fit.’
      • ‘It's the kind of film with a curve ball around every corner, so writing about it in any depth is problematic.’
      • ‘"There's always a curveball on every mission", he said, while enroute to the South Pole.’
      • ‘When you think that the technique has reached its peak, along comes a curveball in the shape of two CDs that are another landmark in the field of electronic music.’
      • ‘His curveball came, though, in the form of a severed Achilles tendon that ended his dreams of making the majors.’
      • ‘The plot flows swiftly, it has a few curveballs along the way to keep you guessing, and there are plenty out-of-left field surprises.’
      • ‘Getting back on track after a slight curveball is what's important.’
      • ‘Then came another curveball in 1992: She developed cancer.’
      • ‘No curve balls or surprises from the Fed, boosting rates for the fourth time this year.’
      • ‘The whole business has been a volley of curve balls.’


  • throw someone a curveball

    • informal Unexpectedly present someone with a challenge or disruption.

      ‘just when you think things are working out, life throws you a curveball’
      • ‘Planning ahead is a great strategy ... until life throws you a curveball.’
      • ‘Just know that this won't be the last time Mother Nature throws us a curveball.’
      • ‘Every now and then science throws us a curve ball, a technology at once staggeringly useful and breathtakingly dangerous.’
      • ‘Sharing your beliefs with like-minded individuals in discussion groups can give you the spiritual grounding you need to cope with whatever curve ball life may throw your way.’
      • ‘You pride yourself on being ready for every sartorial curveball life throws you.’
      • ‘The ocean always seemed to bring her a sense of calmness and happiness whenever life threw her a curveball.’
      • ‘Just when you think you know what life has in store for you (credit-card payments, antidepressants, death), it throws you a curveball.’
      • ‘Just when we got the hang of baking with applesauce instead of oil, the diet gurus throw us another curveball: Forget counting fat grams, they say.’
      • ‘"Each time you think you've got one thing figured out, they throw you a curveball," she notes.’
      • ‘Every once in a while you are thrown a curveball.’
      • ‘What gets me so excited about an album like this is the few curve balls it throws my way.’