• (RP) IPA: /ˈkɜːtn̩/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈkɝtn̩/, [ˈkɝʔn̩]

curtain (plural curtains)

  1. A piece of cloth covering a window, bed, etc. to offer privacy and keep out light.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter I, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546 ↗; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., […], [1933], OCLC 2666860 ↗, page 0016 ↗:
      Thus the red damask curtains which now shut out the fog-laden, drizzling atmosphere of the Marylebone Road, had cost a mere song, and yet they might have been warranted to last another thirty years. A great bargain also had been the excellent Axminster carpet which covered the floor; as, again, the arm-chair in which Bunting now sat forward, staring into the dull, small fire.
  2. A similar piece of cloth that separates the audience and the stage in a theater.
  3. (theater) By extension, the beginning of a show; the moment the curtain rises.
    He took so long to shave his head that we arrived 45 minutes after curtain and were denied late entry.
  4. (fortifications) The flat area of wall which connects two bastions or towers; the main area of a fortified wall.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      , Folio Society, 2006, vol.1, p.220:
      Captain Rense, beleagring the Citie of Errona for us, […] caused a forcible mine to be wrought under a great curtine of the walles […].
  5. (euphemistic, also "final curtain") Death.
    • 1979, Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
      For life is quite absurd / And death's the final word / You must always face the curtain with a bow.
  6. (architecture) That part of a wall of a building which is between two pavilions, towers, etc.
  7. (obsolete, derogatory) A flag; an ensign.
Translations Translations Verb

curtain (curtains, present participle curtaining; past and past participle curtained)

  1. To cover (a window) with a curtain; to hang curtains.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, chapter IV, in Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: James R[ipley] Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., […], OCLC 13623666 ↗, phase the first (The Maiden), pages 40–41 ↗:
      In a large bedroom upstairs, the window of which was thickly curtained with a great woollen shawl lately discarded by the landlady, Mrs. Rolliver, were gathered on this evening nearly a dozen persons, all seeking vinous bliss; all old inhabitants of the nearer end of Marlott, and frequenters of this retreat.
    • 1985, Carol Shields, "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls, Dolls" in The Collected Stories, Random House Canada, 2004, p. 163,
      The window, softly curtained with dotted swiss, became the focus of my desperate hour-by-hour attention.
  2. (figuratively) To hide, cover or separate as if by a curtain.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act II, Scene 2,
      And, after conflict such as was supposed / The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy'd, / When with a happy storm they were surprised / And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave, / We may, each wreathed in the other's arms, / Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
    • 1840, Percy Bysshe Shelley, "A Defence of Poetry"
      But poetry in a more restricted sense expresses those arrangements of language, and especially metrical language, which are created by that imperial faculty; whose throne is curtained within the invisible nature of man.
    • 1958, Ovid, The Metamorphoses, translated by Horace Gregory, New York: Viking, Book IV, Perseus, p. 115,
      He saw a rock that pierced the shifting waters / As they stilled, now curtained by the riding / Of the waves, and leaped to safety on it.
    • 2003, A. B. Yehoshua, The Liberated Bride (2001), translated by Hillel Halkin, Harcourt, Part 2, Chapter 17, p. 115,
      But bleakness still curtained the gray horizon.
Synonyms Translations
  • Portuguese: cobrir com cortina, acortinar, encortinar

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