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See more synonyms for curtilage on Thesaurus.com
noun Law.
  1. the area of land occupied by a dwelling and its yard and outbuildings, actually enclosed or considered as enclosed.
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Origin of curtilage

1250–1300; Middle English courtelage < Anglo-French; Old French cortillage, equivalent to cortil yard (cort court + -il diminutive suffix) + -age -age
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for curtilage

Historical Examples

  • They had been seen prowling about the curtilage of the ale-house the night before.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

    George W. Gough

  • He shall also have the curtilage with the garden adjoining the hall on the north side enclosed as it is with hedges and ditches.

  • On the other hand, there need be no restrictions on the height or cubic contents of any building provided its curtilage be ample.

    The Dwelling House

    George Vivian Poore

  • We made our curtilage here, and here we lived happy until husband died of a fever.

    In The Boyhood of Lincoln

    Hezekiah Butterworth

  • Lincoln laid off his curtilage on a gentle hillock having a slope on every side.

British Dictionary definitions for curtilage


  1. the enclosed area of land adjacent to a dwelling house
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French cortillage, from cortil a little yard, from cort court
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 curtilage


early 14c., from Anglo-French curtilage, from Old French cortil "little court, walled garden, yard," from Medieval Latin cortile "court, yard," from Latin cortis (see court (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper