See more synonyms for curtail on

Origin of curtail

1425–75; late Middle English curtailen to restrict (said of royal succession or inheritance), probably a conflation of Middle French courtau(l)d (see curtal) and Middle English taillen to cut (see taille, tailor1)
Related formscur·tailed·ly, adverbcur·tail·er, nouncur·tail·ment, nounnon·cur·tail·ing, adjectivenon·cur·tail·ment, nounun·cur·tailed, adjective

Synonyms for curtail

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for curtailment

abbreviation, reduction, condensation, cutback

Examples from the Web for curtailment

Contemporary Examples of curtailment

  • The mayor-elect turned serious when asked how the appointment jibed with his call for the curtailment of stop-and-frisk.

  • Osama bin Laden may be dead but the extraordinary government powers and curtailment of civil liberties enacted after 9/11 remain.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bin Laden's Real Legacy

    David K. Shipler

    May 26, 2011

Historical Examples of curtailment

British Dictionary definitions for curtailment


  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 curtailment



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