cur·​tail | \ (ˌ)kər-ˈtāl How to pronounce curtail (audio) \
curtailed; curtailing; curtails

Definition of curtail

transitive verb

: to make less by or as if by cutting off or away some part curtail the power of the executive branch curtail inflation Some school activities are being curtailed due to a lack of funds.

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Other Words from curtail

curtailer \ (ˌ)kər-​ˈtā-​lər How to pronounce curtailer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for curtail

shorten, curtail, abbreviate, abridge, retrench mean to reduce in extent. shorten implies reduction in length or duration. shorten a speech curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy. ceremonies curtailed because of rain abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part. using an abbreviated title abridge implies a reduction in compass or scope with retention of essential elements and a relative completeness in the result. the abridged version of the novel retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive. declining business forced the company to retrench

Examples of curtail in a Sentence

The new laws are an effort to curtail illegal drug use. School activities are being curtailed due to a lack of funds.

Recent Examples on the Web

Light rail operations that had been curtailed resumed Monday afternoon. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Parts of downtown Phoenix could be dark for days after fire that killed APS electrician," 1 July 2019 Selling rural conservative communities on land transfers to federal agencies isn’t always easy, Wargo says, particularly in areas where environmental regulations have curtailed formerly lucrative resource extraction. Gregory Thomas,, "Land deal protects spectacular 17-mile stretch of Pacific Crest Trail," 28 June 2019 Critics say its inclusion would dramatically curtail participation in the census count, which would affect the amount of federal money that goes to Texas for medical care, child care, education and transportation. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Democratic debate fireworks from Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro, Dallas' Colin Allred takes the field, Paul McCartney mad at Texas A&M," 27 June 2019 On Thursday the American Pyrotechnics Association told the U.S. trade representative that Trump's proposed tariffs on Chinese goods could severely hurt its members, and possibly curtail shows as soon as Labor Day., "4th of July: Fireworks companies go bigger for D.C. celebration," 26 June 2019 The report examined several situations in which Trump attempted to influence or curtail Mueller’s investigation. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Hope Hicks Interview Transcript Released: Read It Here," 20 June 2019 The spokesperson said that distribution of the video had already been curtailed. Lex Haris, CBS News, "CBS News asks Facebook to remove "deep fake" video of Mark Zuckerberg with unauthorized CBSN trademark," 12 June 2019 But the moon is a critical step that can’t be curtailed before humans safely travel to Mars, Bridenstine and NASA have maintained. Chabeli Herrera,, "Trump, who told NASA to go to the moon, now wants it to stop talking about going to the moon," 3 June 2019 Oil rebounded on reports that Russia is negotiating with Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, on how much Russian oil output needs to be curtailed and when. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, "Crude Oil Recovers After Dipping Below $50," 29 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curtail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of curtail

1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for curtail

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curtail

The first known use of curtail was in 1580

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More Definitions for curtail



English Language Learners Definition of curtail

formal : to reduce or limit (something)


cur·​tail | \ ˌkər-ˈtāl How to pronounce curtail (audio) \
curtailed; curtailing

Kids Definition of curtail

: to shorten or reduce by cutting off the end or a part of I had to curtail my speech.

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More from Merriam-Webster on curtail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curtail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curtail

Spanish Central: Translation of curtail

Nglish: Translation of curtail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curtail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on curtail

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characterized by aphorism

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