cur·​tain | \ ˈkər-tᵊn How to pronounce curtain (audio) \

Definition of curtain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a hanging screen usually capable of being drawn back or up especially : window drapery
2 : a device or agency that conceals or acts as a barrier — compare iron curtain
3a : the part of a bastioned front that connects two neighboring bastions
b(1) : a similar stretch of plain wall
(2) : a nonbearing exterior wall
4a : the movable screen separating the stage from the auditorium of a theater
b : the ascent or opening (as at the beginning of a play) of a stage curtain also : its descent or closing (as at the end of an act)
c : the final situation, line, or scene of an act or play
d : the time at which a theatrical performance begins
e curtains plural : end especially : death it will be curtains for us if we're caught


curtained; curtaining\ ˈkərt-​niŋ How to pronounce curtaining (audio) , -​ˈkər-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of curtain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with or as if with curtains
2 : to veil or shut off with or as if with a curtain

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Other Words from curtain


curtainless \ ˈkər-​tᵊn-​ləs How to pronounce curtainless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of curtain in a Sentence

Noun Curtains separated the hospital beds. When the curtain rises after intermission, the set is bare and the main character finds himself alone. As the curtain falls for the last time, we see a young woman holding a dying man in her arms. Verb she dropped her head and in shame curtained her face with her hair
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But behind the curtain, the industry creating these frivolous things was besot by terrifying misogyny, power imbalance and a number of monsters who used their positions to remain secret. Washington Post, "The decade’s most impactful pop-culture debuts, from ‘Game of Thrones’ to Kylie Jenner as a billionaire," 23 Dec. 2019 The multi-part documentary features rare, behind-the-scenes footage and gives a peek behind the curtain at the people responsible for creating Disney Parks around the world. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "9 Gifts for the Friend Who Travels to Disney at Least Once a Year," 17 Dec. 2019 Danica Daniel -- Backstage Co-Host Billboard senior editor Danica Daniel will give fans a peek behind the curtain as Women in Music's resident backstage host. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, "Meet Your 2019 Billboard Women in Music Hosts," 11 Dec. 2019 Two hours before curtain Wednesday, the first buses pulled up to the doors of the Alpenrose Opera House in Southwest Portland, carrying theater patrons from The Dalles and Monmouth. oregonlive, "Alpenrose Dairyville and Opera House are closing, and this is your last chance to visit," 21 Nov. 2019 To enter, show up at the Atwood Concert Hall lobby two hours before curtain. Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Ariel, Ursula and some familiar, catchy tunes headed to Anchorage for ‘The Little Mermaid’," 17 Oct. 2019 Dunaway’s alleged actions prompted the producers to cancel the performance minutes before curtain, the Post reported. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Faye Dunaway goes ‘full on Mommie Dearest’ and gets fired from play, report says," 25 July 2019 The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and two hours before curtain. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Melissa Etheridge, Rosanne Cash among those headlining Poway OnStage’s 2019-20 season," 22 July 2019 Scene at the Center restaurant opens two hours before curtain, so everything has to be presentable before then. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "One year after the fire, Kentucky Center is still picking up the pieces," 12 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During a session, you are taken to a small curtained-off room and tucked in to a sleeping bag that serves as an infrared sauna, and monitored by attendants as the bag gets warmer and warmer, raising your heart rate and causing you to sweat. Grace Gavilanes,, "21 Wellness, Fitness & Feel-Good Events and Products We're Loving Right Now," 17 Dec. 2019 The upper bowl was curtained off, and there were pockets of empty seats in the lower bowl, and plenty of elbow room in the large pit around the stage. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dirt bikes and pyro can't save the Chainsmokers' mindless Milwaukee show, but 5 Seconds of Summer a blast," 13 Nov. 2019 Which explains why the 300-level of Moda Center was curtained-off on Tuesday, and why there were still lots of empty seats. John Canzano | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Canzano: Final Four plans hatched high above the Oregon and Oregon State basketball," 13 Nov. 2019 During the cocktail hour that followed, the site of the ceremony was curtained off so it could be transformed into a space for a formal dinner to be served. Nancy Kruh,, "They're Married! Chris Lane and Lauren Bushnell Wed After Whirlwind Engagement — All the Details," 25 Oct. 2019 On Wednesday, the entrance to the building was curtained and blocked off with two large potted plants; a doorman greeted residents at a side door. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Car smashes into lobby of Trump Plaza in NYC suburb," 18 Sep. 2019 Her attic apartment, upstairs from Mary, is hung with fabrics and curtained with beads, furnished with a lamp made from a wicker seamstress’ dummy and a single-girl’s refrigerator. Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: With Rhoda Morgenstern, Valerie Harper made the sidekick a star," 31 Aug. 2019 The guest rooms come in four categories, such as the Family Room, which features curtained bunk beds, and the 45-square-foot Cabin, ideal for solo travelers with retractable limbs. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "Grab your jammies for an Ikea sleepover in Sweden," 23 Aug. 2019 On either side of the men were small, curtained alcoves in which women who had been trafficked from West Africa received clients for $19 a session. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curtain.' 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 curtain


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for curtain


Middle English curtine, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin cortina (translation of Greek aulaia, from aulē court), from Latin cohort-, cohors enclosure, court — more at court

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Time Traveler for curtain

Time Traveler

The first known use of curtain was in the 14th century

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Statistics for curtain

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curtain.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for curtain


How to pronounce curtain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of curtain

: a piece of cloth that hangs down from above a window and can be used to cover the window
: a piece of cloth or other material that is hung to protect or hide something
: a very large piece of cloth that hangs at the front of a stage and that is raised when a performance begins and lowered when a performance ends


cur·​tain | \ ˈkər-tᵊn How to pronounce curtain (audio) \

Kids Definition of curtain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a piece of material (as cloth) hung up to darken, hide, divide, or decorate
2 : something that covers, hides, or separates like a curtain a curtain of fog


curtained; curtaining

Kids Definition of curtain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to furnish with cloth that darkens, hides, divides, or decorates
2 : to hide or shut off

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Comments on curtain

What made you want to look up curtain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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