Words nearby curfew
What does curfew mean?
A curfew is a specific time of day at which, by rule, you must be at home. It can also refer to the rule itself, or the period during which you must stay home.
The word is typically used in two main ways: the curfew set by parents for their children, and the kind of curfew ordered by the government to limit public assembly after a certain time of night, especially during times of war or civil unrest.
Parental curfews typically require the person under curfew to be home by a certain time at night.
Government curfews generally require the same thing, but often have other conditions. Usually, civilians aren’t allowed outside after the stated time and must stay in their homes until the curfew is over. Such curfews are typically enforced by police or the military, and those who violate the curfew can be subject to consequences like fines or jail time.
Government curfews are usually ordered to prevent large gatherings of people, such as those protesting, often with the stated intention of preventing violence or destruction of property. However, such curfews are sometimes criticized for violating the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble.
- If I’m not home by curfew, my parents are going to ground me for a month.
- After another night of protests, the mayor has ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m.
Where does curfew come from?
The first records of the word curfew come from the 1200s. It comes from the Old French covrefeu, which literally translates to “(it) covers (the) fire.” In medieval Europe, curfew referred to the ringing of a bell at a certain hour to signal people to extinguish their lamps or torches, presumably to prevent fires from starting overnight. The word curfew has been used to refer to the cover over the fire, the signal to cover it, the time at which this was done, and the rule itself.
Today, curfew is most commonly used to refer to the set time that one has to be home (as in We have to be in by curfew), the rule that sets the time (as in There is a curfew in effect), or the period during which one is required to be home (as in We’re not allowed out during curfew).
When set by government officials, a curfew operates much like a temporary law. If someone violates this rule, they are often said to be breaking curfew. The same phrase is used when a teenager stays out later than their parents have said to. Parents typically set curfews for safety reasons so their kids don’t get into trouble by staying out late at night.
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How is curfew used in real life?
Curfews are usually unpopular with the people who are told to obey them.
Tonight, the City of Pearland will enforce a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
— City of Pearland (@COPearland) August 27, 2017
I cannot imagine being 19 years old and still having a curfew or getting grounded
— Jev (@jevaughhn) May 27, 2019
Lemme get this straight, Atlanta implemented a strict curfew over some protests but can’t implement a stay at home order for Corona Virus?
— BABY BOWLCUT (@aribigshoes) May 31, 2020
Try using curfew!
True or False?
A curfew is usually optional.
How to use curfew in a sentence
“The United States, which has always promoted democracy and human rights, has become a country of riots, conflict and curfew,” said one recent video featuring clips from the attack on the Capitol that resulted in five deaths.Pro-China propaganda campaign exploits U.S. divisions in videos emphasizing Capitol attack|Craig Timberg, Eva Dou|February 4, 2021|Washington Post
California lifted stay-at-home orders and curfews last week after alarmingly high hospitalizations dipped, while New York is on track to resume indoor dining by Valentine’s Day.U.S. response to coronavirus variants emphasizes masks and vaccines instead of lockdowns|Fenit Nirappil, Brittany Shammas|February 2, 2021|Washington Post
The spike in riders came even as Metro closed three hours early on Wednesday because of the violence at the Capitol and curfews issued.Metro to close 13 stations for a week amid threats of inauguration violence|Justin George|January 13, 2021|Washington Post
Hours after a mob of hundreds of men and women broke into the Capitol building, groups of people were arrested for violating curfew and refusing to leave the grounds of the building.
The curfew is part of what Premier François Legault is calling “electroshock therapy” for the province
A nighttime curfew that was imposed a few weeks ago seems barely enforced now—no doubt to the relief of the women at the Ramada.
On Friday afternoon, I stood by the Burger King checking the bars on my phone like a kid with a curfew.Canada’s Subversive Sock Puppet: Ed the Sock Isn’t Afraid to Say Anything|Soraya Roberts|November 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The city of Miran Shah, for example, was subjected to a nighttime curfew for years.Obama’s Deadly Informants: The Drone Spotters of Pakistan|Umar Farooq, Syed Fakhar Kakakhel|November 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Nixon said the curfew is necessary, despite the efforts of some Ferguson residents to prevent looting.Missouri Governor Imposes Curfew In a Bid to Halt Looting and Restore Calm|Justin Glawe|August 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And so swift was the imposition of the curfew that some foreigners were taken by surprise.
The last slave had been immured within its walls, and St. Michael's curfew was to be sweetest music thenceforth and forever.The Boys of '61|Charles Carleton Coffin.
We took tea at six or half past six o'clock, and the curfew ringing at nine found us preparing for bed.The Education of American Girls|Anna Callender Brackett
The time when this ought to be done, was signified by the ringing of a bell, called therefore the curfew bell, or ignitegium.The Book of Curiosities|I. Platts
The ringing of a bell in the evening is in many places till called ringing the Curfew Bell.
It made me think of that gal when she spoke ‘Curfew shall not ring tewnight’ at the schoolhouse.David Dunne|Belle Kanaris Maniates
British Dictionary definitions for curfew
- the ringing of a bell to prompt people to extinguish fires and lights
- the time at which the curfew bell was rung
- the bell itself