- a horizontal, spiral termination to the lower end of a stair railing.
- Also called curtail step. a starting step having a scroll termination to one or both ends of the tread.
Origin of curtail2
- the step or steps at the foot of a flight of stairs, widened at one or both ends and terminated with a scroll
- (tr) to cut short; abridge
Word Origin and History for curtail step
late 15c., from Middle French courtault "made short," from court "short" (Old French cort, from Latin curtus; see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling. Related: Curtailed; curtailing.