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From Middle English curteyn, corteyn, cortyn, cortine, from Old French cortine, from Medieval Latin cōrtīna (“curtain”), from Latin cohors (“court, enclosure”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈkɜː.tən/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈkɝ.tən/, [ˈkʰɝʔn̩]
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)tən
- Homophone: Kirton
curtain (plural curtains)
- 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; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., […], , →OCLC, 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.
- 1944 November and December, “"Duplex Roomette" Sleeping Cars”, in Railway Magazine, page 324:
- It is realised that the old Pullman standard sleeper, with its convertible "sections", each containing upper and lower berths, and with no greater privacy at night than the curtains drawn along both sides of a middle aisle, has had its day.
- A similar piece of cloth that separates the audience and the stage in a theater.
- 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Lisson Grove Mystery:
- “H'm !” he said, “so, so—it is a tragedy in a prologue and three acts. I am going down this afternoon to see the curtain fall for the third time on what […] will prove a good burlesque ; but it all began dramatically enough. It was last Saturday […] that two boys, playing in the little spinney just outside Wembley Park Station, came across three large parcels done up in American cloth. […]”
- (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.
- (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 […], London: […] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], →OCLC:, 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 […].
- (euphemistic, also "final curtain", sometimes in the plural) 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.
- (architecture) That part of a wall of a building which is between two pavilions, towers, etc.
- (obsolete, derogatory) A flag; an ensign.
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene ii]:
- Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose
- act curtain
- bamboo curtain
- beef curtains
- behind the curtain
- blackout curtain
- bring down the curtain
- bring the curtain down
- cafe curtains
- chin curtain
- curtain array
- curtain bangs
- curtain call
- curtain coating
- curtain lecture
- curtain off
- curtain raiser
- curtain ring
- curtain rod
- curtain-sider, curtainsider
- curtain twitcher
- curtain wall
- draw the curtains
- final curtain
- fortification curtain
- front curtain
- house curtain
- iron curtain
- lace curtain
- main curtain
- meat curtains
- net curtain
- proscenium curtain
- pull down the curtain
- ring down the curtain
- ring up the curtain
- safety curtain
- shower curtain
- silicon curtain
- tableau curtain
- the curtain falls
- the curtains match the drapes
- Zion curtain
piece of cloth covering a window
piece of cloth in a theater
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
curtain (third-person singular simple present curtains, present participle curtaining, simple past and past participle curtained)
- 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 […], volume I, London: James R[ipley] Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., […], →OCLC, 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.
- (figuratively) To hide, cover or separate as if by a curtain.
- 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 [Horace Gregory], The Metamorphoses, New York: Viking, Book IV, Perseus:
- 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 [Hillel Halkin], The Liberated Bride, Harcourt, Part 2, Chapter 17:
- But bleakness still curtained the gray horizon.
to cover with a curtain
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *(s)ker- (turn)
- English terms inherited from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle English
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- English terms derived from Medieval Latin
- English terms derived from Latin
- English 2-syllable words
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- Rhymes:English/ɜː(ɹ)tən/2 syllables
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