cur·tail | \ (ˌ)kər-ˈtāl \
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 \ 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

Galatasaray manager Faith Terim is believed to be a huge admirer of the player, whose career has been curtailed by injuries, especially during his first move to the Super Lig., "Galatasaray Considering Loan Approach for Out of Favour Liverpool Winger Lazar Markovic," 2 July 2018 The Italians, Greeks and Spaniards have recently borne the brunt of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa, even after migrant boat travel to Greece from Turkey has been curtailed through a special deal promoted by the Germans. Steven Erlanger, The Seattle Times, "Europe struggles with migrant crisis as leaders toughen stances," 25 June 2018 In 2013, Medicare began fining hospitals for high readmission rates in an attempt to curtail premature discharges and to encourage hospitals to refer patients to nursing homes with good track records. Jordan Rau,, "Medicare takes aim at boomerang hospitalizations of nursing home patients," 22 June 2018 The regional manager didn't take action to curtail the harassment, and later told him not to speak to human resources, the suit said. Kellen Browning, sacbee, "Company with alleged ‘White only’ clubhouse in Natomas faces another lawsuit," 14 June 2018 But shortly into her sophomore season, Wilson came down with bronchitis, which forced her to curtail her practices and miss workouts, putting her behind in her progression. Jeff Tully,, "All-Area Girls' Swimmer of the Year: Burroughs' Wilson works back to enjoy success," 13 June 2018 Given that risk, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made curtailing teenage e-cigarette use a priority, and has requested information from Juul and other e-cig manufacturers as part of that campaign. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Here's What Scientists Do—And Don't—Know About E-Cigarettes," 30 May 2018 Merkel used her meeting with Trump to try to paper over the differences, calling the Obama-era agreement a ‘‘first step’’ toward curtailing and containing Iran’s regional ambitions and suggesting openness to a side agreement. Jonathan Lemire,, "Trump, Merkel cordial, but no apparent movement on Iran," 27 Apr. 2018 The Assembly and Hogan approved a measure to collect $380 million in taxes from health insurers to curtail skyrocketing premiums for 150,000 Marylanders and prevent the state’s Obamacare marketplace from collapsing. Erin Cox,, "These are the highlights of the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session," 10 Apr. 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

16 Sep 2018

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

: to reduce or limit (something)


cur·tail | \ ˌkər-ˈtāl \
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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