• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to cut short; cut off a part of; abridge; reduce; diminish.
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Origin of curtail1

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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for uncurtailed

Historical Examples

  • The full, free ownership of the soil implied not only the possibility of uncurtailed possession, but also of selling the soil.

    The Origin of the Family Private Property and the State

    Frederick Engels

  • By the way, I was much pleased by Lindley picking out my extinction paragraphs and giving them uncurtailed.

British Dictionary definitions for uncurtailed


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

Word Origin

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 uncurtailed



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper