- 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 curtains
The site was blacked out at all times, with curtains and painted exterior windows.Inside the CIA’s Sadistic Dungeon
December 9, 2014
The result looks like curtains of red and green beams in the night sky.The Sun Is Pummeling Earth. Now What? Solar Storms for Dummies
September 12, 2014
Inside, cabinets of bones three rows high are concealed by curtains pinned with ribbons and handwritten messages.Did the Virgin Mary Warn Rwanda’s Holiest Town of the Genocide?
April 20, 2014
Other than a glimpse of the curtains, little of the Cambridges' renovated Kensington Palace home can be seen in the photograph.Prince George's New Instagrammy Photos
March 30, 2014
In one, a father is upset that his children's clothes are made out of curtains.‘Sound of Music Live!’ Review: The Hills Are Barely Alive
December 6, 2013
In her sleep she had seen it gliding among the pale heather-blossoms on her curtains.The Dream
There are probably no more doors, only curtains, so we shall have no trouble.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
He saw her go by, young and alert in the sunshine, and the May air stirred the curtains.The Incomplete Amorist
I got up at once, pulled back the curtains, and mumbled my rle while dressing.My Double Life
Lady N—— was indifferent to me, and how could I hang up her curtains in my memory?Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
- informal death or ruin; the endif the enemy see us it will be curtains for us
- a hairstyle in which the hair is parted in the centre of the forehead and curved out over the temples
- 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 curtains
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.