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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

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
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References in periodicals archive ?
Throw a curve ball in the bedroom and choose a sweeping sleigh bed like the St Lucia bedframe from Barker and Stonehouse, for a style that will endure for years.
"Sandy told Vin that because of his elbow problems, if he ever had a son he wouldn t let him throw a curve ball until he was 13 or 14.
This guy, however, could throw a curve ball, and instead of getting an 80mph fastball, I got a 65mph breaking ball.
It is very important for a pitcher to learn to throw a curve ball that is inside and outside.
If you throw a curve ball for a strike to a hitter, especially early in the count, the last thing he will expect is to see it again on the next pitch.
With two strikes, some pitchers will throw a curve ball consistently.