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An algebraic curve is an algebraic variety of dimension one. An affine algebraic curve can be described as the zero-locus of $n-1$ independent polynomials of $n$ variables in affine $n$-space over a field. Examples include conic sections, compact Riemann surfaces and elliptic curves. Singularities of curves are extensively studied as a basic case in singularity theory. Via algebraic function fields and modular curves they have links to number theory.

If $K$ is a field, then an algebraic curve is an equation $f(X,Y)=0$ where $f(X,Y)$ is a polynomial with coefficients in the field. In other words, it is the set of points on the Euclidean plane whose coordinates are zeros of some polynomial in two variables.