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Alteration of curtal, from Old French courtault (which has been shortened), itself from court (short) (from Latin curtus) + -ault



curtail (third-person singular simple present curtails, present participle curtailing, simple past and past participle curtailed)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To cut short the tail of an animal
    Curtailing horses procured long horse-hair.
  2. (transitive) To shorten or abridge the duration of something; to truncate.
    When the audience grew restless, the speaker curtailed her speech.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To limit or restrict, keep in check.
    • 2018, "Israeli gov't is trying to defund +972 Magazine, report says", +972 Magazine:
      The current Israeli government has been working to curtail and eliminate critical voices within Israeli society in recent years, particularly those fighting to end the occupation and expose human rights violations against Palestinians and marginalized communities.


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curtail (plural curtails)

  1. (architecture) A scroll termination, as of a step, etc.