[ kur-tn ]
/ ˈkɜr tn /
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See synonyms for: curtain / curtained / curtaining / curtains on Thesaurus.com

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

    draw the curtain on / over,
    1. to bring to a close: to draw the curtain on a long career of public service.
    2. to keep secret.
    lift the curtain on,
    1. to commence; start.
    2. 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 variations of curtain

3. See window shade.


cur·tain·less, adjectiveun·cur·tained, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does curtain mean?

A curtain is a sheet of fabric that’s typically hung from the wall or ceiling to cover or decorate a window or to separate two spaces, such as a theater’s stage from its seating area.

Along with blinds and shades, curtains are commonly used as window coverings in people’s homes. They can function to block light from the window, to cover it for privacy, or simply as decorations.

In the context of theater, curtain has several more specific uses. The literal curtain on a stage is used to conceal the stage until the performance is ready to be seen. The word is also used in a few figurative ways. It can refer to the starting time of a performance, as in Curtain is at 2 p.m. or We have a 7 o’clock curtain. This sense of the word refers to the when the literal curtain opens. Another sense of the word refers to when the curtain closes—it refers to the end of a scene or act, as in the second-act curtain. Curtain can also refer to the conclusion of a performance or a plot solution at the end, as in I liked the play, but I thought the curtain was weak. 

The fact that most plays end with the stage curtains being closed has led to the use of the word curtains as a slang expression referring to the end or death of something, often in an exaggerated way, as in It will be curtains for me if I don’t pass this test.

A curtain call is when the performers return to the stage to acknowledge continued applause from the audience at the end of the performance (often after the curtain has closed).

Example: I got a blackout curtain for my room that doesn’t let any sunlight in.

Where does curtain come from?

The first records of the word curtain come from the 1200s. It comes from Late Latin cortīna, meaning “enclosed place,” probably from the Latin cohors, meaning “courtyard.”

Curtains are most commonly associated with their use around windows, but they can also be used to separate other areas. Roommates might place a curtain between their sides of the room for privacy. A shower curtain is used to separate the shower stall from the rest of the bathroom.

More generally, the word curtain can refer to anything that shuts off, covers, or conceals. It can also be used in a more specific way in the context of architecture to refer to a flat or featureless wall between two things.

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What are some other forms related to curtain

  • curtainless (adjective)
  • uncurtained (adjective)

What are some synonyms for curtain?

What are some words that share a root or word element with curtain

What are some words that often get used in discussing curtain?

How is curtain used in real life?

Curtains can be found in most homes. When used in the context of theater, the word curtain has many figurative meanings.



Try using curtain!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of curtain?

A. door
B. shade
C. screen
D. veil

How to use curtain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for curtain

/ (ˈkɜːtən) /

(tr sometimes foll by off) to shut off or conceal with or as if with a curtain
(tr) to provide (a window, etc) with curtains
See also curtains

Word Origin for 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


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