hockey-stick curve

n.
A curve that resembles the shape of a hockey stick and that represents a phenomenon that begins slowly and then takes off.
Example Citation:
"In 1995 and 1996 everyone did their market research, saw the big hockey-stick curve, and jumped into the market," Grzyb added. "In 1997, the market is getting to the early adopter stage. In 1998, you'll see the hockey stick spiking up dramatically."
—Susan Moran, "Different camps squaring off in E-commerce market," Computer Dealer News, October 6, 1997
Earliest Citation:
A reduction in drop height reduces the sensitivity to applied stress in all cases, and a 'hockey stick' curve is shown for rubberized hair with the curves for the honeycombs becoming flatter, further increasing the design tolerances
—"Pastics & Polymers: Volumes 33-34," Plastics Institute, January 1, 1965
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