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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

a 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. 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

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.
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

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


throw someone a curve ball

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, throw