verb (used with object)

Origin of curb

1250–1300; Middle English curb, courbe curved piece of wood (noun), stooped, hunchbacked (adj.) < Anglo-French curb, courb curved, bowed; Old French < Latin curvus crooked, bent, curved. See curve
Related formscurb·a·ble, adjectivecurb·less, adjectivecurb·like, adjectiveun·curb, verb (used with object)un·curb·a·ble, adjectiveun·curbed, adjective
Can be confusedcurb kerb

Synonyms for curb

Synonym study

13. See check1.

Antonyms for curb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curb

Contemporary Examples of curb

Historical Examples of curb

  • Obeying a quick impulse, Percival stepped to the curb as she came opposite to him.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Yet what can I say, for all men know that your valor needs the curb and not the spur.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The cobblestones had gone, and from curb to curb stretched smooth asphalt.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb his tongue when you wish to talk.

  • And if I were denied the power, I must, as I now do, curb my inclination.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for curb




something that restrains or holds back
any enclosing framework, such as a wall of stones around the top of a well
  1. Also called: curb bita horse's bit with an attached chain or strap, which checks the horse
  2. Also called: curb chainthe chain or strap itself
a hard swelling on the hock of a horse

verb (tr)

to control with or as if with a curb; restrain
See also kerb

Word Origin for curb

C15: from Old French courbe curved piece of wood or metal, from Latin curvus curved




vet science a swelling on the leg of a horse, below the point of the hock, usually caused by a sprain
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

Word Origin and History for curb

late 15c., "strap passing under the jaw of a horse" (used to restrain the animal), from Old French courbe (12c.) "curb on a horse," from Latin curvus, from curvare "to bend" (see curve (v.)). Meaning "enclosed framework" is from 1510s, probably originally with a notion of "curved;" extended to margins of garden beds 1731; to "margin of stone between a sidewalk and road" 1791 (sometimes spelled kerb). Figurative sense of "a check, a restraint" is from 1610s.


1520s, of horses, "to lead to a curb," from curb (n.). Figurative use from 1580s. Related: Curbed; curbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper