- a hanging piece of fabric used to shut out the light from a window, adorn a room, increase privacy, etc.
- a movable or folding screen used for similar purposes.
- Chiefly New England. a window shade.
- a set of hanging drapery for concealing all or part of the stage or set from the view of the audience.
- the act or time of raising or opening a curtain at the start of a performance: an 8:30 curtain.
- the end of a scene or act indicated by the closing or falling of a curtain: first-act curtain.
- an effect, line, or plot solution at the conclusion of a performance: a strong curtain; weak curtain.
- music signaling the end of a radio or television performance.
- (used as a direction in a script of a play to indicate that a scene or act is concluded.)
- anything that shuts off, covers, or conceals: a curtain of artillery fire.
- Architecture. a relatively flat or featureless extent of wall between two pavilions or the like.
- Fortification. the part of a wall or rampart connecting two bastions, towers, or the like.
- curtains, Slang. the end; death, especially by violence: It looked like curtains for another mobster.
- to provide, shut off, conceal, or adorn with, or as if with, a curtain.
- draw the curtain on/over,
- to bring to a close: to draw the curtain on a long career of public service.
- to keep secret.
- lift the curtain on,
- to commence; start.
- to make known or public; disclose: to lift the curtain on a new scientific discovery.
Origin of curtain
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Regional variation note
Examples from the Web for curtain
After the curtain calls, Christopher comes back to explain a complicated math problem.Hedwig, Hugh & Michael Cera: 12 Powerhouse Theater Performances of 2014
December 31, 2014
The insurrectionists seemed actors in a surreal episode of revolutionary play-acting in which the curtain was about to fall.East Ukraine: Back in the USSR
November 19, 2014
“It was like a curtain was beginning to be opened,” says Noor, who was surprised by the blunt request.Obama’s Deadly Informants: The Drone Spotters of Pakistan
Umar Farooq, Syed Fakhar Kakakhel
November 12, 2014
So, what might have occurred on the other side of the curtain?Why North Korea Released Two Americans
Gordon G. Chang
November 9, 2014
From behind a curtain, Trudeau is politely coaching the actors through the scene, encouraging them to go bigger.Inside the Political Fun House: How ‘Alpha House’ Became Amazon’s First Big Hit
October 24, 2014
As she spoke, Geta lifted the curtain, and Philothea instantly obeyed the signal.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
The bell had rung—the curtain was up and the performances were about to begin.
Just then the curtain rose again, and the play of the "Serious Family," commenced.
At length the curtain fell, and the evening's performance was over.
Curtain rises on second act, showing the Hotel Fonseca, at Paris.
- a piece of material that can be drawn across an opening or window, to shut out light or to provide privacy
- a barrier to vision, access, or communicationa curtain of secrecy
- a hanging cloth or similar barrier for concealing all or part of a theatre stage from the audience
- the curtain the end of a scene of a play, opera, etc, marked by the fall or closing of the curtain
- the rise or opening of the curtain at the start of a performance
- (tr sometimes foll by off) to shut off or conceal with or as if with a curtain
- (tr) to provide (a window, etc) with curtains
Word Origin and History for curtain
c.1300, from Old French cortine "curtain, tapestry, drape, blanket," from Late Latin cortina "curtain," but in classical Latin "round vessel, cauldron," from Latin cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard" (see cohort). The confusion apparently begins in using cortina as a loan-translation for Greek aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Hebrew yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1, etc.) because the Greek word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" of a Greek house that led out to the courtyard was a hung cloth. The figurative sense in curtain call is from 1884. Curtains "the end" is 1912, originally from stage plays.