Spline definition

This is something I found a while back:

SPLINE: “A curve that closely approximates the shape of a strip of material that is gently bent; originally a draftsman's tool for drawing curves that represented the shapes taken by wooden and metal members of a ship's hull structure bent over fixed points or frames and, later, representing similar shapes in auto bodies and aircraft structures. A spline is the shape taken by bending material objects, like beams, that minimizes the elastic energy (or internal strain energy) stored in the beam. Mathematically, it is the smoothest curve that passes through a set of fixed points. In 3D modeling it is a curve defined by control points, often supplemented by interactive methods to modify tangents to the curve at these points and to adjust a local weighting factor. Bézier, B-Spline, and NURBS are commonly used types of splines.”

(unknown source)