Edge vs. Curve: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
"Edge" refers to the sharp, defined boundary of a surface, while "Curve" describes a smoothly bent or arched line or surface.

Key Differences

"Edge" often denotes a boundary or limit. It can represent the outermost line or border of an object or surface. "Curve," however, is not necessarily about boundaries, but about the form or bend of a line or surface.
The term "Edge" suggests a certain sharpness or definiteness. For instance, a piece of paper has distinct edges that one can touch and feel. In contrast, "Curve" implies a smooth, continuous bend, like that seen in a winding road or a gentle arc.
In geometric terms, "Edge" is typically a straight line, especially when discussing shapes like squares or rectangles. "Curve" does not have this limitation; it simply represents a line that isn't straight.
Functionally, an "Edge" might serve as a defining boundary or a point of separation. "Curve," on the other hand, often indicates a transition, a change in direction, or a deviation from straightness.
"Edge" and "Curve" have versatile applications in different contexts, from mathematics to art to everyday language. While both can describe aspects of an object or surface, "Edge" typically refers to boundaries, and "Curve" to bends or arches.

Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

Boundary or limit of a surface.
Smoothly bent line or surface.

Geometry Association

Typically a straight line.
A line that isn't straight.

Implied Shape

Definite, sharp.
Smooth, continuous bend.

Example Usage

The edge of the table.
The curve of the road.

Functional Representation

Serves as a boundary or separation point.
Indicates transition or change in direction.

Edge and Curve Definitions

Edge

The outer boundary of a surface.
She stood at the edge of the cliff.

Curve

A bent or rounded line or surface.
She admired the curve of the sculpture.

Edge

A sharp or defining limit.
He has a competitive edge in business.

Curve

A line that deviates from straightness in a smooth, continuous fashion.

Edge

A slight advantage or superiority.
She had an edge in experience.

Curve

A surface that deviates from planarity in a smooth, continuous fashion.

Edge

A line or border where a surface ends.
The picture frame has golden edges.

Curve

Something characterized by such a line or surface, especially a rounded line or contour of the human body.

Edge

A thin, sharpened side, as of the blade of a cutting instrument.

Curve

A relatively smooth bend in a road or other course.

Edge

The degree of sharpness of a cutting blade.

Curve

A line representing data on a graph.

Edge

A penetrating, incisive quality
"His simplicity sets off the satire, and gives it a finer edge" (William Hazlitt).

Curve

A trend derived from or as if from such a graph
"Once again, the politicians are behind the curve" (Ted Kennedy).

Edge

A slight but noticeable sharpness, harshness, or discomforting quality
His voice had an edge to it.

Curve

A graphic representation showing the relative performance of individuals as measured against each other, used especially as a method of grading students in which the assignment of grades is based on predetermined proportions of students.

Edge

Keenness, as of desire or enjoyment; zest
The brisk walk gave an edge to my appetite.

Curve

The graph of a function on a coordinate plane.

Edge

The line or area farthest away from the middle
Lifted the carpet's edge.

Curve

The intersection of two surfaces in three dimensions.

Edge

The line of intersection of two surfaces
The edge of a brick.

Curve

The graph of the solutions to any equation of two variables.

Edge

A rim or brink
The edge of a cliff.

Curve

(Baseball) A curve ball.

Edge

The point at which something is likely to begin
On the edge of war.

Curve

(Slang) Something that is unexpected or designed to trick or deceive.

Edge

A margin of superiority; an advantage
A slight edge over the opposition.

Curve

To move in or take the shape of a curve
The path curves around the lake.

Edge

To give an edge to (a blade); sharpen.

Curve

To cause to curve.

Edge

To tilt (a ski or both skis) in such a way that an edge or both edges bite into the snow.

Curve

(Baseball) To pitch (a ball) with a curve.

Edge

To put a border or edge on
Edged the quilt with embroidery.

Curve

To grade (students, for example) on a curve.

Edge

To act as or be an edge of
Bushes that edged the garden path.

Curve

(obsolete) Bent without angles; crooked; curved. Category:en:Curves
A curve line
A curve surface

Edge

To advance or push slightly or gradually
The dog edged the ball with its nose.

Curve

A gentle bend, such as in a road.
You should slow down when approaching a curve.

Edge

To trim or shape the edge of
Edge a lawn.

Curve

A simple figure containing no straight portions and no angles; a curved line.
She scribbled a curve on the paper.

Edge

To surpass or beat by a small margin. Often used with out
The runner edged her opponent out at the last moment.

Curve

A grading system based on the scale of performance of a group used to normalize a right-skewed grade distribution (with more lower scores) into a bell curve, so that more can receive higher grades, regardless of their actual knowledge of the subject.
The teacher was nice and graded the test on a curve.

Edge

To move gradually or hesitantly
The child edged toward the door.

Curve

(analytic geometry) A continuous map from a one-dimensional space to a multidimensional space.

Edge

The boundary line of a surface.

Curve

(geometry) A one-dimensional figure of non-zero length; the graph of a continuous map from a one-dimensional space.

Edge

(geometry) A one-dimensional face of a polytope. In particular, the joining line between two vertices of a polygon; the place where two faces of a polyhedron meet.

Curve

(algebraic geometry) An algebraic curve; a polynomial relation of the planar coordinates.

Edge

I have the edge on him.

Curve

(topology) A one-dimensional continuum.

Edge

The thin cutting side of the blade of an instrument, such as an ax, knife, sword, or scythe; that which cuts as an edge does, or wounds deeply, etc.

Curve

The attractive shape of a woman's body.

Edge

A sharp terminating border; a margin; a brink; an extreme verge.
The cup is right on the edge of the table.
He is standing on the edge of a precipice.

Curve

(transitive) To bend; to crook.
To curve a line
To curve a pipe

Edge

Sharpness; readiness or fitness to cut; keenness; intenseness of desire.

Curve

(transitive) To cause to swerve from a straight course.
To curve a ball in pitching it

Edge

The border or part adjacent to the line of division; the beginning or early part (of a period of time)
In the edge of evening

Curve

(intransitive) To bend or turn gradually from a given direction.
The road curves to the right

Edge

(cricket) A shot where the ball comes off the edge of the bat, often unintentionally.

Curve

(transitive) To grade on a curve (bell curve of a normal distribution).
The teacher will curve the test.

Edge

(graph theory) A connected pair of vertices in a graph.

Curve

(transitive) (slang) To reject, to turn down romantic advances.
I was once curved three times by the same woman.

Edge

A level of sexual arousal that is maintained just short of reaching the point of inevitability, or climax.

Curve

Bent without angles; crooked; curved; as, a curve line; a curve surface.

Edge

The point of data production in an organization (the focus of edge computing), as opposed to the cloud.

Curve

A bending without angles; that which is bent; a flexure; as, a curve in a railway or canal.

Edge

(transitive) To move an object slowly and carefully in a particular direction.
He edged the book across the table.
The muggers edged her into an alley and demanded money.

Curve

A line described according to some low, and having no finite portion of it a straight line.

Edge

(intransitive) To move slowly and carefully in a particular direction.
He edged away from her.

Curve

To bend; to crook; as, to curve a line; to curve a pipe; to cause to swerve from a straight course; as, to curve a ball in pitching it.

Edge

(usually in the form 'just edge') To win by a small margin.

Curve

To bend or turn gradually from a given direction; as, the road curves to the right.

Edge

To hit the ball with an edge of the bat, causing a fine deflection.

Curve

The trace of a point whose direction of motion changes

Edge

(transitive) To trim the margin of a lawn where the grass meets the sidewalk, usually with an electric or gas-powered lawn edger.

Curve

A line on a graph representing data

Edge

(transitive) To furnish with an edge; to construct an edging.

Curve

A baseball thrown with spin so that its path curves as it approach the batter

Edge

To furnish with an edge, as a tool or weapon; to sharpen.

Curve

The property possessed by the curving of a line or surface

Edge

(figurative) To make sharp or keen; to incite; to exasperate; to goad; to urge or egg on.

Curve

Curved segment (of a road or river or railroad track etc.)

Edge

To delay one's orgasm so as to remain almost at the point of orgasm.

Curve

Turn sharply; change direction abruptly;
The car cut to the left at the intersection
The motorbike veered to the right

Edge

The thin cutting side of the blade of an instrument; as, the edge of an ax, knife, sword, or scythe.
He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.
Slander,Whose edge is sharper than the sword.

Curve

Extend in curves and turns;
The road winds around the lake

Edge

Any sharp terminating border; a margin; a brink; extreme verge; as, the edge of a table, a precipice.
Upon the edge of yonder coppice.
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edgeOf battle.
Pursue even to the very edge of destruction.

Curve

Form an arch or curve;
Her back arches
Her hips curve nicely

Edge

Sharpness; readiness or fitness to cut; keenness; intenseness of desire.
The full edge of our indignation.
Death and persecution lose all the ill that they can have, if we do not set an edge upon them by our fears and by our vices.

Curve

Bend or cause to bend;
He crooked his index finger
The road curved sharply

Edge

The border or part adjacent to the line of division; the beginning or early part; as, in the edge of evening.

Curve

Form a curl, curve, or kink;
The cigar smoke curled up at the ceiling

Edge

To furnish with an edge as a tool or weapon; to sharpen.
To edge her champion's sword.

Curve

A line representing data in graph form.
The growth curve showed positive trends.

Edge

To shape or dress the edge of, as with a tool.

Curve

A ball's trajectory in sports deviating from a straight path.
He threw a curve ball.

Edge

To furnish with a fringe or border; as, to edge a dress; to edge a garden with box.
Hills whose tops were edged with groves.

Curve

A winding or twisting shape.
The river had many curves along its path.

Edge

To make sharp or keen, figuratively; to incite; to exasperate; to goad; to urge or egg on.
By such reasonings, the simple were blinded, and the malicious edged.

Curve

A grading method where scores are adjusted.
The professor graded on a curve.

Edge

To move by little and little or cautiously, as by pressing forward edgewise; as, edging their chairs forwards.

Edge

To move sideways; to move gradually; as, edge along this way.

Edge

To sail close to the wind.
I must edge up on a point of wind.

Edge

The boundary of a surface

Edge

A sharp side formed by the intersection of two surfaces of an object;
He rounded the edges of the box

Edge

A line determining the limits of an area

Edge

The attribute of urgency;
His voice had an edge to it

Edge

A slight competitive advantage;
He had an edge on the competition

Edge

A strip near the boundary of an object;
He jotted a note on the margin of the page

Edge

Advance slowly, as if by inches;
He edged towards the car

Edge

Provide with a border or edge;
Edge the tablecloth with embroidery

Edge

Lie adjacent to another or share a boundary;
England marches with Scotland

Edge

Provide with an edge;

Edge

The thin, sharp side of a blade.
The knife's edge was razor-sharp.

FAQs

Are "Curve" and "Bend" synonymous?

They can be used interchangeably in many contexts, but "Curve" often implies a smoother, more gradual bend.

Can "Curve" refer to anything straight?

No, "Curve" inherently indicates a bend or arch, as opposed to a straight line.

Is an "Edge" always sharp?

No, while edges can be sharp, they can also simply represent boundaries or limits.

Can a circle have an "Edge"?

In common language, we'd refer to it as the circumference or boundary, but not typically an "edge" in the way a square has edges.

What does "Edge" commonly refer to?

"Edge" typically denotes the boundary or limit of a surface or object.

What's the "edge of reason"?

It's a figurative phrase referring to the boundary of what's considered rational or sane.

In which fields are "Edge" and "Curve" commonly used?

Both terms are used in geometry, art, sports, and everyday language, among other fields.

Can one object have both edges and curves?

Absolutely. For example, a rectangle with rounded corners has both edges and curves.

What's the "cutting edge"?

It refers to the forefront of technological advancements or trends. It can also mean the sharp side of a blade.

Can "Edge" denote an advantage?

Yes, in contexts like sports or business, having an "edge" means having a slight advantage.

Does "Curve" always mean a gentle bend?

No, curves can be steep or gentle, but they always denote a deviation from straightness.

How do "Edge" and "Curve" relate in graphic design?

In design, edges often define boundaries of objects, while curves might determine an object's shape or the flow of design elements.

How is "Curve" used in statistics?

"Curve" can refer to a graphical representation of data, such as a bell curve.

What's a "learning curve"?

It represents the time and effort required to acquire new skills or knowledge.

Can objects have multiple edges?

Yes, objects like polygons have multiple edges, which are their defining straight lines.