Definition of curveball in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkərvbôl/


1A pitch thrown with a strong downward spin, causing the ball to drop suddenly and veer to the side as it approaches home plate.
Example sentences
  • The statistics don't reflect, for instance, how many times pitchers plunk batters with changeups, curveballs or other off-speed pitches, or how much effort a hitter makes to get out of the way.
  • Now that his back is feeling better, Estes is better able to locate his pitches, particularly his curveball.
  • My fastball was unhittable, my changeup was devastating, and my curveball dropped off the face of the earth.
1.1North American informal Something which is unexpected, surprising, or disruptive: there’s always a curveball on every mission
More example sentences
  • When you think that the technique has reached its peak, along comes a curveball in the shape of two CDs that are another landmark in the field of electronic music.
  • His curveball came, though, in the form of a severed Achilles tendon that ended his dreams of making the majors.
  • Getting back on track after a slight curveball is what's important.


throw someone a curveball

North American informal Unexpectedly present someone with a challenge or disruption: just when you think things are working out, life throws you a curveball
More example sentences
  • Just know that this won't be the last time Mother Nature throws us a curveball.
  • Every once in a while you are thrown a curveball.
  • Just when we got the hang of baking with applesauce instead of oil, the diet gurus throw us another curveball: Forget counting fat grams, they say.
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.