AskDefine | Define curve

Dictionary Definition



1 the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes [syn: curved shape] [ant: straight line]
2 a line on a graph representing data
3 a baseball thrown with spin so that its path curves as it approach the batter [syn: curve ball, breaking ball, bender]
4 the property possessed by the curving of a line or surface [syn: curvature]
5 curved segment (of a road or river or railroad track etc.) [syn: bend]


1 turn sharply; change direction abruptly; "The car cut to the left at the intersection"; "The motorbike veered to the right" [syn: swerve, sheer, trend, veer, slue, slew, cut]
2 extend in curves and turns; "The road winds around the lake" [syn: wind]
3 form an arch or curve; "her back arches"; "her hips curve nicely" [syn: arch, arc]
4 bend or cause to bend; "He crooked his index finger"; "the road curved sharply" [syn: crook]
5 form a curl, curve, or kink; "the cigar smoke curled up at the ceiling" [syn: curl, kink]

User Contributed Dictionary




From etyl la curvus


  1. Bent without angles; crooked; curved.
    a curve line
    a curve surface


See crooked and curved


  1. A gentle bend, such as in a road.
  2. A simple figure containing no straight portions and no angles; a curved line.
  3. A continuous map from a one-dimensional space to a multidimensional space.
  4. A one-dimensional figure of non-zero length; the graph of a continuous map from a one-dimensional space.
  5. An algebraic curve; a polynomial relation of the planar coordinates.
  6. A one-dimensional continuum.
  7. (informal, usually in plural curves) The attractive shape of a woman's body.
gentle bend
geometry: one-dimensional figure
algebraic curve
informal: usually in plural: attractive features of a woman
informal: attractive shape of a woman's body


  1. To bend; to crook.
    to curve a line
    to curve a pipe
  2. To cause to swerve from a straight course.
    to curve a ball in pitching it
  3. To bend or turn gradually from a given direction.
    the road curves to the right


bend, crook
cause to swerve from a straight course
bend or turn gradually from a given direction



  1. Plural of curva


  1. feminine plural of curvo




curve f|p
  1. Plural of curvă whores

Extensive Definition

In mathematics, the concept of a curve tries to capture the intuitive idea of a geometrical one-dimensional and continuous object. A simple example is the circle. In everyday use of the term "curve", a straight line is not curved, but in mathematical parlance curves include straight lines and line segments. A large number of other curves have been studied in geometry.
This article is about the general theory. The term curve is also used in ways making it almost synonymous with mathematical function (as in learning curve), or graph of a function (Phillips curve).


In mathematics, a (topological) curve is defined as follows. Let I be an interval of real numbers (i.e. a non-empty connected subset of \mathbb). Then a curve \!\,\gamma is a continuous mapping \,\!\gamma : I \rightarrow X, where X is a topological space. The curve \!\,\gamma is said to be simple if it is injective, i.e. if for all x, y in I, we have \,\!\gamma(x) = \gamma(y) \implies x = y. If I is a closed bounded interval \,\![a, b], we also allow the possibility \,\!\gamma(a) = \gamma(b) (this convention makes it possible to talk about closed simple curve). If \gamma(x)=\gamma(y) for some x\ne y (other than the extremities of I), then \gamma(x) is called a double (or multiple) point of the curve.
A curve \!\,\gamma is said to be closed or a loop if \,\!I = [a, b] and if \!\,\gamma(a) = \gamma(b). A closed curve is thus a continuous mapping of the circle S^1; a simple closed curve is also called a Jordan curve or a Jordan arc.
A plane curve is a curve for which X is the Euclidean plane — these are the examples first encountered — or in some cases the projective plane. A space curve is a curve for which X is of three dimensions, usually Euclidean space; a skew curve is a space curve which lies in no plane. These definitions also apply to algebraic curves (see below). However, in the case of algebraic curves it is very common not to restrict the curve to having points only defined over the real numbers.
This definition of curve captures our intuitive notion of a curve as a connected, continuous geometric figure that is "like" a line, without thickness and drawn without interruption, although it also includes figures that can hardly be called curves in common usage. For example, the image of a curve can cover a square in the plane (space-filling curve). The image of simple plane curve can have Hausdorff dimension bigger than one (see Koch snowflake) and even positive Lebesgue measure (the last example can be obtained by small variation of the Peano curve construction). The dragon curve is another unusual example.

Conventions and terminology

The distinction between a curve and its image is important. Two distinct curves may have the same image. For example, a line segment can be traced out at different speeds, or a circle can be traversed a different number of times. Many times, however, we are just interested in the image of the curve. It is important to pay attention to context and convention in reading.
Terminology is also not uniform. Often, topologists use the term "path" for what we are calling a curve, and "curve" for what we are calling the image of a curve. The term "curve" is more common in vector calculus and differential geometry.

Lengths of curves

If X is a metric space with metric d, then we can define the length of a curve \!\,\gamma : [a, b] \rightarrow X by
\mbox (\gamma)=\sup \left\

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aberrancy, aberration, arc, arch, artful dodge, artifice, bag of tricks, bear off, bend, bend back, bias, blind, bluff, bosey, bow, bowl, branch off, branching off, cast, catacaustic, catch, catenary, caustic, change of pace, change the bearing, change-up, chicanery, chouse, chuck, chunk, circle, circuit, circuitousness, circumference, coil, compass, conchoid, corner, crook, curl, curvation, curvature, curve-ball, declination, decurve, deflect, depart from, departure, design, detour, deviance, deviancy, deviate, deviation, device, deviousness, diacaustic, diffract, diffuse, digress, digression, dirty deal, dirty trick, discursion, disperse, distort, divagate, divagation, divaricate, divarication, diverge, divergence, diversion, divert, dodge, dogleg, dome, double, downcurve, drift, drifting, ellipse, embow, errantry, excursion, excursus, exorbitation, fast deal, fastball, feint, festoon, fetch, ficelle, flex, fling, flip, forward pass, gambit, gimmick, googly, hairpin, heave, heel, hocus-pocus, hook, hump, hunch, hurl, hyperbola, incurvate, incurvation, incurvature, incurve, indirection, inflect, inflection, joker, juggle, knuckleball, lateral, lateral pass, lituus, lob, loop, obliquity, outcurve, parabola, pass, peg, pererration, pitch, ploy, pull, put, rambling, recurve, reflect, reflex, refract, retroflex, rondure, round, ruse, sag, scatter, scheme, screwball, scurvy trick, serve, service, sheer, shift, shifting, shifting course, shifting path, shot-put, shy, sinker, sinus, skew, slant, sleight, sleight of hand, sleight-of-hand trick, slider, sling, spiral, spitball, spitter, stratagem, straying, subterfuge, swag, sweep, swerve, swerving, swinging, tack, throw, toss, tracery, trend, trick, turn, turn aside, turning, twist, upcurve, variation, vary, vault, veer, wandering, warp, wile, wind, yaw, zigzag
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1