[ kur-tn ]
See synonyms for: curtaincurtainedcurtainingcurtains on

  1. a hanging piece of fabric used to shut out the light from a window, adorn a room, increase privacy, etc.

  2. a movable or folding screen used for similar purposes.

  1. Chiefly New England. a window shade.

  2. Theater.

    • a set of hanging drapery for concealing all or part of the stage or set from the view of the audience.

    • the act or time of raising or opening a curtain at the start of a performance: an 8:30 curtain.

    • the end of a scene or act indicated by the closing or falling of a curtain: first-act curtain.

    • an effect, line, or plot solution at the conclusion of a performance: a strong curtain; weak curtain.

    • music signaling the end of a radio or television performance.

    • (used as a direction in a script of a play to indicate that a scene or act is concluded.)

  3. anything that shuts off, covers, or conceals: a curtain of artillery fire.

  4. Architecture. a relatively flat or featureless extent of wall between two pavilions or the like.

  5. Fortification. the part of a wall or rampart connecting two bastions, towers, or the like.

  6. curtains, Slang. the end; death, especially by violence: It looked like curtains for another mobster.

verb (used with object)
  1. to provide, shut off, conceal, or adorn with, or as if with, a curtain.

Idioms about curtain

  1. draw the curtain on / over,

    • to bring to a close: to draw the curtain on a long career of public service.

    • to keep secret.

  2. lift the curtain on,

    • to commence; start.

    • to make known or public; disclose: to lift the curtain on a new scientific discovery.

Origin of curtain

1250–1300; Middle English co(u)rtine<Anglo-French, Old French <Late Latin cortīna, probably equivalent to co(ho)rt- (stem of cohors;see court) + -īna-ine1, as calque of Greek aulaía curtain, derivative of aulḗ courtyard

synonym study For curtain

1, 3. Curtain, blind, shade, shutter agree in being covers for a window, to shut out light or keep persons from looking in. Curtain, blind, and shade may mean a cover, usually of cloth, which can be rolled up and down inside the window. Curtain, however, may also refer to a drapery at a window; and a Venetian blind consists of slats mounted on tapes for drawing up or down and varying the pitch of the slats. Blind and shutter may mean a cover made of two wooden frames with movable slats, attached by hinges outside a window and pulled together or opened at will. Shutters may mean also a set of panels (wooden or iron) put up outside small shops or stores at closing time

regional variation note For curtain

3. See window shade.

Other words for curtain

Other words from curtain

  • cur·tain·less, adjective
  • un·cur·tained, adjective

Words Nearby curtain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use curtain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for curtain


/ (ˈkɜːtən) /

  1. a piece of material that can be drawn across an opening or window, to shut out light or to provide privacy

  2. a barrier to vision, access, or communication: a curtain of secrecy

  1. a hanging cloth or similar barrier for concealing all or part of a theatre stage from the audience

  2. the curtain the end of a scene of a play, opera, etc, marked by the fall or closing of the curtain

  3. the rise or opening of the curtain at the start of a performance

  1. (tr sometimes foll by off) to shut off or conceal with or as if with a curtain

  2. (tr) to provide (a window, etc) with curtains

Origin of curtain

C13: from Old French courtine, from Late Latin cortīna enclosed place, curtain, probably from Latin cohors courtyard

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with curtain


In addition to the idioms beginning with curtain

  • curtain raiser
  • curtains for, be.

also see:

  • draw the curtain
  • raise the curtain
  • ring down the curtain

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.