curtail

play
verb cur·tail \ (ˌ)kər-ˈtāl \

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.

curtailer

play \(ˌ)kər-ˈtā-lər\ noun

Examples of curtail in a Sentence

  1. The new laws are an effort to curtail illegal drug use.

  2. School activities are being curtailed due to a lack of funds.

Recent Examples of curtail from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

CURTAIL Defined for English Language Learners

curtail

play
verb

Definition of curtail for English Language Learners

  • : to reduce or limit (something)


CURTAIL Defined for Kids

curtail

play
verb cur·tail \ ˌkər-ˈtāl \

Definition of curtail for Students

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


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