Definition of curve in English:

curve

noun

  • 1A line or outline that gradually deviates from being straight for some or all of its length.

    ‘the parapet wall sweeps down in a bold curve’
    • ‘Ultimately, for an infinite number of sides (in effect, a circle), the curve becomes a straight, horizontal line.’
    • ‘The straight line must be one of the earliest curves studied, but Euclid in his Elementsalthough he devotes much study to the straight line, does not consider it a curve.’
    • ‘We can never fit a straight tangent line to the curve at the point.’
    • ‘Most tend to begin by either drawing gentle curves or straight lines on the daisyphone, creating rising or falling note progressions or a stark-sounding chords respectively.’
    • ‘Using some fairly sophisticated mathematics, you can program the computer to pick out in that array things like straight lines and nicely shaped curves.’
    • ‘Many famous mathematicians, including Descartes, have worked on a class of curves called cycloids.’
    • ‘He was outlining a curve in black ink with a quill pen when someone knocked on the door.’
    • ‘And the length of the curve is again a discontinuous function of the starting point.’
    • ‘The ruler has a fixed distance marked on it and one mark is kept on a given line while the other traces the conchoid curve.’
    • ‘Winding stone walkways, designed to mimic the natural curves and stratification sculpted by wind and water, gradually ascend eight levels to the street.’
    • ‘Little manipulation is required within the heart because the wire follows a natural curve.’
    • ‘When the process was repeated over the remainder of the wall safe area, a strange outline of several concentric curves appeared.’
    • ‘Judging the paintings, he said that straight lines, curves and equilateral triangles, involved in the drawing, could shape the children's handwriting.’
    • ‘His tight black muscle shirt hugged his chest, outlining his every curve.’
    • ‘With finite sample sizes, the curves deviate from this straight line and the deviation increases as the sample size decreases.’
    • ‘In formal terms, the imagery plays with and against the shape of the tiles; curves contend with straight lines and figures are skewed or framed quite tightly.’
    • ‘Light from the street lamps would wrap around the compact space, following the natural curves.’
    • ‘She smiles, a soft, trembling upward curve of mouth, " Not really.’
    • ‘He trailed his mouth to the curve of her neck, softly kissing her.’
    • ‘To his greatest regret later in life, he never published an account of the method that allowed the computation of areas, lengths of curves, tangents, and maxima and minima of functions.’
    bend, bow, arch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A place where a road deviates from a straight path.
      ‘the vehicle rounded a curve’
      • ‘David's house was right around the curve in the road.’
      • ‘Out in the country, past the big cities, over four hills, and through countless curves on the road, lay the small town of Benwin.’
      • ‘They were at one of the biggest, cruelest curves on the winding road.’
      • ‘Even the most macho of male drivers do not want to sweat it out driving or get a crick in the neck, manoeuvring hairpin curves on mountain roads.’
      • ‘The collision occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle at a curve in the road while attempting to avoid the Federal Border Guard.’
      • ‘Don't stand immediately after a curve in the road, people won't see you until they're right on you.’
      • ‘‘He won't be able to,’ I said, watching as a sharp curve in the road grew closer and closer.’
      • ‘As we drove up the road with its hairpin curves to Mukkali, the air was dry and the surrounding hills looked desolate.’
      • ‘Rounding the curve in the road Crow makes a turn and heads straight towards the finish line ribbon strung across the road.’
      • ‘So it's been a road with various curves and detours, not a straight, linear march towards a predetermined goal.’
      • ‘His crisp white Greek Revival house still stands at a curve in the main road, momentarily blocking the bay view as you drive past.’
      • ‘The mishap occurred approximately 150 yards from the member's home on a narrow dirt road with a blind curve.’
      • ‘And he pushes the car past ninety, flying around the curves in the road.’
      • ‘Each turn around Pacific Cove's many winding curves revealed smaller roads and hairpin turns.’
      • ‘The Impala ripped down the road and took the curve quickly; the fog had vanished now, and the sky was clear now.’
      • ‘It's a big cattle operation at a curve in the road.’
      • ‘Or position a mirror at a sharp curve in a road and you can suddenly see around the bend, catching a glimpse of something to come that otherwise would have been hidden.’
      • ‘The way Keaira took the curves of this road Kat could tell Keaira had been riding for a few years.’
      • ‘You don't go very far without a little hill or a curve in the road.’
      • ‘Figure 5 provides an illustration of the corner tracking-error issue when negotiating a curve in a road.’
    2. 1.2A curving contour of a woman's figure.
      • ‘The fabric of her clothes whirled about her figure stretching against her curves.’
      • ‘Her figure curves gracefully from head to toe as she stands there, the only one left clapping.’
      • ‘Her figures now show off curves as well as angles, and include touches of Impressionism as they pose, row boats and toddle babies across sandy beaches.’
      • ‘Her stick figure turned into voluptuous curves.’
      • ‘She was dripping with water, the tunic outlining the high curve of her young chest, her hair falling heavily in her back, a large pool of water growing around her.’
      • ‘The waist was fit to show her curves and the perfect figure of her body.’
      • ‘Her perfect voluptuous figure with the right curves in the right places were accentuated by the tight black leather pants and top she was wearing.’
      • ‘The dress hugged her body tightly but gently; bringing out her full curves and luscious figure.’
      • ‘All of the curves and contours of her torso seemed to fit right into mine.’
      • ‘She stood tall, unlike Winnie, she was 5'8, with a nice slender figure, with womanly curves.’
      • ‘She noted her slim figure, slight curves suggested womanhood.’
      • ‘She wore a rose-dyed sacking dress, exquisitely worked under the needle so that it graced her slight figure, presented the curves as clues.’
      • ‘For now, you could throw a T-shirt over your bikini, shop for a swimsuit that downplays your curves or figure out where you could enjoy a girls-only swim.’
      • ‘Terence noticed the redheaded woman walking towards him, bright green eyes and a figure full of curves.’
      • ‘The magazine even dared to say the poncho was suitable for all body shapes, flattering curves and disguising hefty hips.’
      • ‘Her figure had curves in all the right places, her face was the kind that poets would write endless sonnets about, and her hair just seemed to ask him to run his fingers through it.’
      • ‘The assymetric-cut skirt, single shoulder dress decorated with soft pleats and belts outlines the beautiful curve of women.’
      • ‘Slim figure, nice curves, the girl was a walking boy magnet!’
      • ‘There was a grace and an elegance she carried with her, and it went further than the sleek curves of her figure.’
      • ‘Her body with its generous curves still followed its own limpid rhythms and her long braid with its colourful Patiala parandis moved slowly to and fro upon that impregnable behind.’
    3. 1.3A line on a graph (whether straight or curved) showing how one quantity varies with respect to another.
      ‘the population curve’
      • ‘From the individual dose - response curves we chose doses in the linear part for the combination treatments.’
      • ‘The major portion of the population curves and all population peaks occurred in soybean stage R5 to beginning R6.’
      • ‘The substantial shift of decay curves to lower frequency as a result of compound-DNA interactions is readily seen in Fig.4.’
      • ‘The graphs are likelihood curves of population growth rate when the population size estimate is at its maximum-likelihood value.’
      • ‘Data for I / V curves were acquired by varying the patch potential when the channels were open and examining the changes in the current amplitude.’
      • ‘From the fact that Newton uses the letter v for the ordinate, it may be inferred that Newton is thinking of the curve as being a graph of velocity against time.’
      • ‘Given that quantity best response curves slope downward, when firm 2's sales fall in country 1, firm 1 expands its output.’
      • ‘If the slope of the curve does not vary as C increases, the character is isogonic; if it varies, this means that the growth-rate of the abdomen varies.’
      • ‘A simple model, where the curve varies with fruits, was compared with a complex model, where the curve varies with genotypes and fruits.’
      • ‘The curve forms from a graph plotting return and risk indicated by volatility, which is represented by standard deviation.’
      • ‘This measures the difference between the areas under the curve of a graph of actual distribution of cumulative income and one indicating equality of income distribution.’
      • ‘This situation leads to a blunter light-response curve, and lowers light use efficiency.’
      • ‘The area below the curve with respect to the cross section gives an idea of the missing ballast.’
      • ‘Recruitment curves for beetle populations on each soybean genotype were plotted by fitting a Ricker model to the data using likelihood methods.’
      • ‘As we saw earlier, x-axis is the pedal curve of the parabola with respect to its focus.’
      • ‘Most of us lie between two extreme ends of a bell-shaped curve of sleep length and efficiency.’
      • ‘We constructed population growth curves for the numbers of different genes / ORFs found in the tag location database.’
      • ‘The curve divides the population according to their adoption of new technologies.’
      • ‘We used the data from the field experiment to estimate recruitment curves for beetle populations on each genotype.’
      • ‘Each eigenfunction represents a family of deformations in the shape of the average curve for the population.’
    4. 1.4A system in which grades are assigned to students based on their performance relative to other students, regardless of their actual knowledge of the subject.
      ‘grades were marked on a curve’
      • ‘Well, he didn't like me so much as he hated everyone else and graded on a curve.’
      • ‘The cities were then ranked first to last and assigned numerical grades based on a relative curve.’
      • ‘But I'm grading on today's curve, and in that context, they're both 8s.’
      • ‘A measurement of compliance, like a school exam, can either be based on an absolute scale or reflect a curve of relative performance.’
      • ‘Grading on a curve would take on a whole new meaning.’
      • ‘Some teachers grade on a curve, creating a ranking system and failing the bottommost students.’
      • ‘When I was playing music, I found that there was a general practice of grading on a curve with respect to local music.’
      • ‘But as it goes back to - I don't believe God grades on a curve.’
      • ‘There are few ways to combat this risk, one of which is grading on a curve.’
      • ‘And this ties in to some of the reasons why grading on a curve is the lesser of evils.’
      • ‘Designing assessments to spread student scores permits the use of the normal curve to assign grades.’
    5. 1.5Baseball
      another term for curveball
      • ‘Finally, Ankiel struck Perez out on another curve.’
      • ‘Everts needed only eight pitches to retire the side, striking out one on a very impressive curve.’
      • ‘The tall right-hander took his sign, went into his windup, and threw the most hellacious curve I had ever seen.’
      • ‘He understands changing speeds better than any other prospect, and mixes in an above-average curve.’
      • ‘His fastball regularly hits 95 mph, and he throws a good slider and curve.’
      • ‘He throws a low 90s fastball and mixes it with a big-league curve.’
      • ‘A midseason adjustment to throw the curve overhand helped his control.’

verb

  • Form or cause to form a curve.

    [no object] ‘her mouth curved in a smile’
    [with object] ‘starting with arms outstretched, curve the body sideways’
    • ‘From the top, there were views south to Carlingford Lough and the sea, with the east coast of Ireland curving out of sight.’
    • ‘They flow like gusts of wind on a cool day, curving and twisting as they become yet another poem.’
    • ‘Especially with the delightful back garden that Adrian designed with sweeps of gravel and curving footpaths.’
    • ‘Cathery smiled at Kami, her eyes bright with colors, her mouth curving upwards.’
    • ‘Louis curved his arm around her shoulders and placed a kiss on her cheek.’
    • ‘This good sense was reinforced when I saw the trail curving down the side of the mountain toward the city site.’
    • ‘Their tail is carried over their backs either tightly or loosely curled or curved in an arch.’
    • ‘The Seine snakes down to the bottom right before curving back up.’
    • ‘But the youngsters who zoom on their bikes curving along the hairpin bends have to take a day off.’
    • ‘Instead of merely curving down, the arms swoop down and around to hug the back of your head.’
    • ‘When the chin is forward the front of the head becomes higher and the neck is curved in an exaggerated bend.’
    • ‘Each of the big spiraling arms was intended to be a megastructure, curving to a greenbelt.’
    • ‘Her lips a luscious red with her mouth curving into a small smile as she approached him.’
    • ‘She rolled her eyes but I could still see a small smile curving at the corner of her lips.’
    • ‘This gave the Roman soldier a great deal of protection as it curved around his body.’
    • ‘Weights were then progressively added to the weighing boat which caused the petiole to bend, curving upwards.’
    • ‘The common name comes from the way in which the body is curved back on itself.’
    • ‘The seat was royal blue velvet, the edges studded with brass, the arms curving forwards laced with silver.’
    • ‘She seemed more amused as her perfectly plucked eyebrows raised, a small smile curving her mouth.’
    • ‘These were generally straight but also included forms that were curved or spiral or had lateral arms.’
    bent, arched, bowed, crescent, curving, wavy, twisted, twisty, sinuous, serpentine, meandering, undulating, curvilinear, curvy
    vaulted, rounded, concave, convex, domed, humped
    hooked, aquiline
    arcuate, falcate, falciform, circumflex, flexural
    embowed
    curviform
    bend, turn, loop, wind, meander, undulate, snake, spiral, twist, coil, curl
    arc, arch, bow
    bulge, swell
    inflect
    incurve
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • ahead of (or behind) the curve

    • (especially of a business or politician) ahead of (or lagging behind) current thinking or trends.

      • ‘An increase in imports from overseas, and automation of the weaving processes, mean that Selectus has had to keep ahead of the curve to stay in business.’
      • ‘I think you're way ahead of the curve, but you still have a lot to catch up on.’
      • ‘Dent makes it his business to be ahead of the curve.’
      • ‘This is a textbook example of being ahead of the curve.’
      • ‘Heroism, in hindsight, was cheap in that place in those days: Being just a couple of inches ahead of the curve would have done it.’
      • ‘Japan's population is ahead of the curve - the old age population is higher, and population growth is lower - than in the USA.’
      • ‘Their articles were once ahead of the curve spotting trends before they had a chance to be lampooned on South Park.’
      • ‘And we're ahead of the curve as far as growth is concerned.’
      • ‘It should come as no surprise, then, that politicians are scrambling to get ahead of the curve.’
      • ‘Rackspace seems to be a bit ahead of the curve, but I expect that most companies will enable such pop-up chat services in the near-term.’
      • ‘It was ahead of the curve about what the difficulties were.’
      • ‘Predicting trends and staying ahead of the curve is essential for any savvy business owner.’
      • ‘When it comes to providing basic affordability, we might very well be ahead of the curve, but we're still barely pulling a passing grade.’
      • ‘Though I was behind the curve about blogging, I was ahead of the curve about email lists.’
      • ‘Those trends have implications for professionals who want to stay ahead of the curve and ensure a successful future.’
      • ‘There are far-thinking businessmen who manage to see things new ways and think ahead of the curve, but they're always in the minority.’
      • ‘With technology trends changing rapidly, paying attention now will keep you ahead of the curve - and ahead of your competitors.’
      • ‘We can then begin to be ahead of the curve instead of behind it.’
      • ‘‘I think normally we're behind, but this time we were slightly ahead of the curve,’ agrees Garrett.’
      • ‘Plenty of athletes are already ahead of the curve.’
  • throw someone a curve

    • informal

      ‘just when you think you have this parenting thing down pat, they throw you a curve’
      another way of saying throw someone a curveball
      • ‘"You've done everything that you can think of to ensure mission success, but Mars can still throw you a curve," said the former NASA Mars czar.’
      • ‘Every once in a while life throws you a curve.’
      • ‘There's nothing like some long-term epidemiological data to really throw a curve to the diet industry.’
      • ‘Dean, who sells himself as the presidential campaign's straightest shooter, is starting to throw voters some curves.’
      • ‘Life will always throw you curves.’
      • ‘This being the third edition of "Endurance," Zhou probably should have known that the producers would throw the contestants a curve.’
      • ‘Little did I know that he was about to throw me a curve that would bring out skills I did not even know I had.’
      • ‘Just when we got a bearing on a situation, the instructors would throw us another curve.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin curvare to bend from curvus bent The noun dates from the late 17th century.

Pronunciation:

curve

/kərv/