curtail

2
[kur-teyl]
noun Architecture.
  1. a horizontal, spiral termination to the lower end of a stair railing.
  2. Also called curtail step. a starting step having a scroll termination to one or both ends of the tread.

Origin of curtail

2
probably alteration, by folk etymology, of curtal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for curtail-step

curtail

verb
  1. (tr) to cut short; abridge
Derived Formscurtailer, nouncurtailment, noun

Word Origin for curtail

C16: changed (through influence of tail 1) from obsolete curtal to dock; see curtal
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 curtail-step

curtail

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper