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[kurt] /kɜrt/
adjective, curter, curtest.
rudely brief in speech or abrupt in manner.
brief; concise; terse; laconic.
short; shortened.
Origin of curt
First recorded in 1620-30, curt is from the Latin word curtus shortened, short, cut short
Related forms
curtly, adverb
curtness, noun
1. snappish, sharp. 3. abbreviated.
Synonym Study
2. See blunt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for curtness
Historical Examples
  • Her good-bye came with a curtness that might well have inspired consternation.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • To prove this he wilfully exaggerated his gruffness and curtness of manner.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • He paid absolutely no attention to the tone of my reply or its curtness.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine Joseph C. Lincoln
  • “No,” said Stirling, with a curtness at which Weston could not take offense.

    The Gold Trail

    Harold Bindloss
  • The curtness of their reply, proved to me that they had been discussing our interview.

  • Her tone belied the curtness of her words, and she waited eagerly for the answer.

    The Rubicon E. F. Benson
  • "Tell him I will attend to Mr. Smith," she said with a curtness that matched Calamity's own.

    Captain Calamity

    Rolf Bennett
  • "Don't ask," replied Geoff, with a curtness which was unusual in him.

    On the Road to Bagdad F. S. Brereton
  • But he had carried his curtness too far, and was not prepared for the quick retort.

    Dennison Grant Robert Stead
  • I returned his nod with a curtness I was at no pains to dissemble.

    The Firefly Of France Marion Polk Angellotti
British Dictionary definitions for curtness


rudely blunt and brief; abrupt: a curt reply
short or concise
Derived Forms
curtly, adverb
curtness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin curtus cut short, mutilated
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for curtness



mid-14c., from Latin curtus "(cut) short, shortened, incomplete," from PIE root *(s)ker- "to cut" (see short (adj.)). Sense of "rude" is first recorded 1831. The Latin word was adopted early into most Germanic languages (cf. Icelandic korta, German kurz, etc.) and drove out the native words based on Proto-Germanic *skurt-, but English retains short.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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