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above the curve
Being greater, better, or more advanced than the average in the relative field, especially in research or innovative pursuits. The research being done on leukemia here is far above the curve anywhere else in the world.
ahead of the curve
1. Better than average. I'm not sure how I did on that exam, but I think I'll end up ahead of the curve.
2. At the forefront of or leading in something, such as a developing situation, field of study or business, social development, etc. The new professor is way ahead of the curve with his research into genetics.
behind the curve
Not up to date or current in some area. Often said of politicians. Can you believe he made that sexist remark about women in the workplace? Wow, he's really behind the curve!
curve to something
to bend or bow toward something, some direction, or some place. The road curved to the left. One of her toes curves to the right.
See also: curve
pitch someone a curve(ball)
Fig. to surprise someone with an unexpected act or event. (Referring to a curve-ball in baseball. It is the route of the ball that is curved, not the ball itself. See also throw someone a curve(ball).) You really pitched me a curveball when you said I had done a poor job. I did my best. You asked Tom a trick question. You certainly pitched him a curve.
throw someone a curve
1. Lit. to pitch a curveball to someone in baseball. (See pitch someone a curve(ball).) The pitcher threw John a curve, and John swung wildly against thin air. During that game, the pitcher threw everyone a curve at least once.
2. Fig. to confuse someone by doing something tricky or unexpected. When you said "house" you threw me a curve. The password was supposed to be "home." John threw me a curve when we were making our presentation, and I forgot my speech.
throw somebody a curvealso throw a curve at somebody
to surprise someone with a problem or something unexpected Bill threw me a curve by asking me to go to the theater with him instead of a hockey game.
Usage notes: also used in the form throw someone a curveball
Etymology: from the curve in baseball (a type of throw to the person at bat that does not travel in a direct route )
throw (somebody) a curve (ball)(American & Australian informal)
to surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with The weather threw a curve at their barbecue and they had to eat indoors.
throw a curve
Surprise or outwit someone, as in They threw me a curve when they said that our department would be combined with yours. This colloquial term comes from baseball, where a pitcher tries to fool the batter by using a curve ball, which is thrown with sufficient spin to make it veer from its expected path. The term was transferred to other kinds of surprise, not necessarily unpleasant, in the mid-1900s.