curvature

A rounded, bent, or arched shape in something is a curvature. When there's a wide expanse of open ocean, you can see the slight curvature of the earth right where it meets the horizon.

A curvature is the shape of something that's curved — and both words stem from the Latin curvare, "to bend." In math, the term curvature has several specific meanings depending on its context, but it basically comes down to a curving or bending away from a straight line. The curvature of your movie theater seat might make it particularly comfortable, while the curvature of your spine as you work on your computer may give you a backache later.

Definitions of curvature
  1. noun
    the property possessed by the curving of a line or surface
    synonyms: curve
    see moresee less
    types:
    curliness, waviness
    (of hair) a tendency to curl
    straightness
    (of hair) lack of a tendency to curl
    type of:
    configuration, conformation, contour, form, shape
    any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
  2. noun
    the rate of change (at a point) of the angle between a curve and a tangent to the curve
    see moresee less
    type of:
    derivative, derived function, differential, differential coefficient, first derivative
    the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx
  3. noun
    (medicine) a curving or bending; often abnormal
    curvature of the spine”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    condition, status
    a state at a particular time
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week