curve

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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.
See also: above, 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.
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.
See also: ahead, curve, of

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!
See also: behind, curve

curve ball

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.
See also: ball, curve

curve to

To bend in a particular direction. I swung the bat but missed because the ball curved to the left at the last second.
See also: curve, to

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."
See also: all, curve, place, right

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.
See also: curve, flatten

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."
See also: all, curve, have, place, right

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.
See also: curve, pitch

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 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.
See also: curve, to

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.
See also: curve, pitch

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
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.
See also: curve, throw
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 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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

behind (or ahead of) the curve

behind (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.
See also: behind, curve

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
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.
See also: ahead, behind, curve, of
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.
See also: ahead, curve, of

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.
See also: behind, curve
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The distortions grow heavier when a user moves to an off-angle of the curved TV.
As we have stated, the sprinter's positioning produces no significant effect other than a possible psychological advantage when sprinting the curved portion of the track.
Curved samples, such as o-rings, are often tested, and the effect of testing these on different instruments was investigated.
The focus of interest in today's third generation of curved belts is the shift towards key conveyor components being made modular.
diameter curved vane, however, has a tip velocity of 165 fps to obtain the same 240 fps abrasive velocity.
The biggest engineering challenge lay in fabricating curved top and bottom plates for the stud wall.
Before immersing ourselves with the model and pricing details of these Curved TVs, let us get to the obvious question:
Samsung Electronics has announced that it would be unveiling the world's first, largest and most curved 105-inch Curved UHD TV at the upcoming CES 2014, a global consumer electronics tradeshow in US city of Las Vegas.
One of the most important characteristics of railroad development was the spiral curve -- a feature allowing a safe transition from straight to curved sections of track.
The curve produces a biomechanical disadvantage due to centrifugal force -- the force caused by changing direction from a straight line to a curved path.
(Peter Rice made an early contribution.) Each one, curved in two directions, is a slice off the same part of a toroid, with the seven slices tilted around their long axes and arranged in a series of loosely overlapping shells.
ASTM D 1414 describes a special test for hardness measurements on rubber products with curved surfaces like o-rings.