 InvestHub.com's Finance Dictionary and Glossary of Investment Terms yield curve Definition 1.
A curve that shows the relationship between yields and maturity dates for a set of similar bonds, usually Treasuries, at a given point in time.  Definition 2.
A graph of the bond yields available at a given moment in time, with the dividend yield rising along the vertical line and bond durations moving outward along the horizontal line. A typical yield curve is rising, or positive, because bonds of a longer duration pay more interest. The sharper the slope of this curve, the less additional duration you need for a higher yield. An inverted or negative yield curve, which goes downward because shortterm rates are higher than longterm rates, is considered a sign that a recession is in the offing; high shortterm rates will work their way through the economy, putting the brakes on growth. If short and longterm rates are the same, the yield curve is flat. The bonds typically plotted on a yield curve are Treasury securities.  Definition 3.
The graphic depiction of the relationship between the yield on bonds of the same credit quality but different maturities. Related: Term structure of interest rates. Harvey (1991) finds that the inversions of the yield curve (shortterm rates greater than long term rates) have preceded the last five U.S. recessions. The yield curve can accurately forecast the turning points of the business cycle.  Definition 4.
A graphic line chart that shows interest rates at a specific point for all securities having equal risk, but different maturity dates. For bonds, it typically compares the 2 or 5 year treasury with the 30 year. 

