Simple Definition of curtail
: to reduce or limit (something)
Full Definition of curtail
: to make less by or as if by cutting off or away some part <curtail the power of the executive branch> <curtail inflation>
Examples of curtail
The new laws are an effort to curtail illegal drug use.
School activities are being curtailed due to a lack of funds.
Origin of curtail
by folk etymology from earlier curtal to dock an animal's tail, from curtal, noun, animal with a docked tail, from Middle French courtault — more at curtal
First Known Use: 1580
Synonym Discussion of curtail
Rhymes with curtail
abseil, airmail, all hail, assail, avail, bake sale, bangtail, blackmail, blacktail, bobtail, broadscale, broadtail, bucktail, bud scale, canaille, cattail, chain mail, coattail, cocktail, contrail, derail, detail, doornail, dovetail, downscale, ducktail, e-mail, entail, exhale, fan mail, fantail, female, fife rail, fire sale, fishtail, folktale, foresail, foxtail, fresh gale, full-scale, gapped scale, Glendale, gray scale, greenmail, guardrail, Hallel, handrail, hangnail, headsail, hightail, hobnail, horntail, horsetail, impale, inhale, junk mail, Longueuil, lugsail, mainsail, mare's tail, Mondale, moon snail, oxtail, pass-fail, percale, pigtail, pintail, pinwale, plate rail, pot ale, prevail, rattail, regale, resale, rescale, retail, right whale, ringtail, Sangreal, Scottsdale, sea kale, shavetail, shirttail, skysail, slop pail, small-scale, snail mail, soft hail, split rail, springtail, spritsail, square sail, staysail, strong gale, surveil, swordtail, taffrail, tag sale, telltale, third rail, thumbnail, timescale, toenail, topsail, travail, trysail, unnail, unveil, upscale, ventail, voice mail, wage scale, wagtail, wassail, whiptail, white sale, whitetail, white whale, whole gale, wholesale, yard sale
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up curtail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).