Definition of curve noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kɜːv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kɜːrv//
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  1. 1  a line or surface that bends gradually; a smooth bend the delicate curve of her ear a pattern of straight lines and curves (especially North American English) a curve in the road (especially North American English) The driver lost control on a curve and the vehicle hit a tree. to plot a curve on a graph (specialist) the unemployment-income curve (= a line on a graph showing the relationship between the number of unemployed people and national income) see also learning curve
  2. 2(also curve ball) (North American English) (in baseball) a ball that moves in a curve when it is thrown to the batter (figurative) One of the journalists threw the senator a curve (= surprised him by asking a difficult question). See related entries: Baseball
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: from Latin curvare ‘to bend’, from curvus ‘bent’. The noun dates from the late 17th cent.Extra examples He slowed down to negotiate the curve. Slow down at the curves. Start-up businesses often have a steep learning curve. The car vanished around a curve. The evening dress hugged her curves beautifully. The road follows the coast in a wide curve. The road went around in a tight curve. The seats were arranged to form a curve. the curve of his neck the natural curve of your spine the voluptuous curve of her hips He admired the delicate curve of her ear. The pattern was made up of straight lines and curves. The program automatically plots the curve on a graph. This figure shows the population curve for the last hundred years.Idioms
    ahead of/behind the curve
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    (especially North American English, business) in advance of or behind a particular trend Our expert advice will help you stay ahead of the curve. We've fallen behind the curve when it comes to developing new digital products.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: curve