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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. The addition of Dr. Brown to our staff is certainly a boon—her innovative approach to chemotherapy has always been above the curve. Are the methods of cancer treatment being developed in Switzerland really above the curve?
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. Her performance in sales this quarter is ahead of the curve, so she deserves a bonus. I haven't been that impressed with the crop of candidates for the sales position—only a few have been 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. The new company I work for is ahead of the curve—I think some of their new instruments are going to revolutionize the field of medicine. If you want technology that's ahead of the curve, you'd better be prepared to pay for it.
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!
1. In baseball, a ball that curves in its trajectory toward home plate. He's a good batter, but he has a hard time hitting a curve ball.
2. An unexpected occurrence or thing that causes confusion or uncertainty. I thought I had confirmed my hypothesis, so these results are a real curve ball.
3. A deceptive action or thing. I don't know, I think her sudden displays of affection are just a curve ball to get me to trust her.
To bend in a particular direction. I swung the bat but missed because the ball curved to the left at the last second.
curves in all the right places
slang An attractively curvaceous body. She's absolutely gorgeous with curves in all the right places, so why the heck would she talk to dorks like us? A: "Does she have curves in all the right places and not a brain in her head? Then she's just Ed's type." B: "Ouch, that was harsh."
flatten the curve
To slow the spread of an infectious disease so that its outbreak is more manageable for medical professionals. The graphical "curve" indicates how many people have the illness. A sharp curve means that many people have the illness all at the same time, which then overtaxes the healthcare system. Stay-at-home measures were put in place during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic to flatten the curve. We don't have enough doctors to treat all these projected cases—we must take steps to flatten the curve.
have curves in all the right places
slang To have a attractively curvaceous body. She's absolutely gorgeous and has curves in all the right places, so why the heck would she talk to dorks like us? A: "Does she have curves in all the right places and not a brain in her head? Then she's just Ed's type." B: "Ouch, that was harsh."
The rate at which something can be learned or mastered. The learning curve required to make use of this software will make it prohibitive for most inexperienced users. The video game has a steep learning curve at the beginning, though that may be part of its appeal for many hardcore gamers.
pitch (one) a curve (ball)
To do something unexpected or deceptive that surprises, confuses, thwarts, or outwits someone. Her confidence and fact-of-the-matter answers pitched 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 pitched me a curve ball.
throw (one) a curve
To do something unexpected or deceptive that surprises, confuses, thwarts, or outwits one. An allusion to a curveball, 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.
throw (one) a curveball
To do something unexpected or deceptive that surprises, confuses, thwarts, or outwits one. A curveball is a pitch in baseball intended to be difficult to hit due to its curving path. Primarily heard in US. The end of that trick always throws the audience a curveball. I love watching their faces as they desperately try to figure it out. It really threw Stu a curveball when Olivia announced she was leaving the company.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
throw someone a curveor
throw someone a curve ballmainly 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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
behind (or ahead of) the curvebehind (or in advance of) the current trend.
The expression is probably based on the notion of the curve of a graph.
2005 Stylus Magazine Everyone knows the cultural stereotype – the Japanese are hopelessly, adorably behind the curve when it comes to Western music styles.
throw a curvecause 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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
ahead of/behind the ˈcurve(especially 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 using the Internet.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
ahead of the curve
Anticipating events, circumstances, problems. Similar to ahead of the pack, it may apply to knowing beforehand what election polls will indicate, or what the stock market will do. Philip Delves Broughton used it in the title of his book, Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School (2008). See also behind the curve.
behind the curve
Slow to react to changing conditions. Criticizing the Obama administration’s plans to stimulate the economy as too modest, the economist Paul Krugman wrote, “. . . the plan was too small and too cautious. The latest data . . . suggest that the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve” (New York Times, March 8, 2009). See also ahead of the curve.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer