throw (one) a curve (ball)

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throw (one) a curve (ball)

To do something unexpected or deceptive that surprises, confuses, thwarts, or outwits one. A curve ball is a pitch in baseball intended to be difficult to hit due to its curving path. Her confidence and fact-of-the-matter answers threw police a curve during their questioning. I had only been reading the textbook instead of going to classes, so a few of the questions on the final exam really threw me a curve ball.
See also: curve, throw

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.
See also: curve, throw

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.
See also: curve, throw

throw someone a curve

or

throw someone a curve ball

mainly AMERICAN
If someone throws you a curve or if they throw you a curve ball, they surprise you by doing something unexpected, sometimes causing you trouble. Just when they thought they might have the boss figured out, Knight would throw them a curve. Every so often Mother Nature throws us a curve ball. Note: You can refer to unexpected problems as curve balls. Once you get to know a person's habits and idiosyncrasies, there are fewer curve balls. Note: In baseball, a `curve ball' is a ball that curves through the air rather than travelling in a straight line.
See also: curve, someone, throw

throw a curve

cause confusion or consternation by acting unexpectedly. US informal
Curve is short for curve ball , a term in baseball for a delivery in which the pitcher causes the ball to deviate from a straight path by imparting spin.
See also: curve, throw