In finance, the yield curve is a curve showing several yields to maturity or interest rates across different contract lengths (2 month, 2 year, 20 year, etc. …) for a similar debt contract. The curve shows the relation between the (level of the) interest rate (or cost of borrowing) and the time to maturity, known as the “term”, of the debt for a given borrower in a given currency.

The U.S. dollar interest rates paid on U.S. Treasury securities for various maturities are closely watched by many traders, and are commonly plotted on a graph such as the one on the right, which is informally called “the yield curve”.

More formal mathematical descriptions of this relation are often called the term structure of interest rates.