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cur·​tain ˈkər-tᵊn How to pronounce curtain (audio)
: a hanging screen usually capable of being drawn back or up
especially : window drapery
: a device or agency that conceals or acts as a barrier compare iron curtain
: the part of a bastioned front that connects two neighboring bastions
: a similar stretch of plain wall
: a nonbearing exterior wall
: the movable screen separating the stage from the auditorium of a theater
: 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)
: the final situation, line, or scene of an act or play
: the time at which a theatrical performance begins
curtains plural : end
especially : death
it will be curtains for us if we're caught
curtainless adjective


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curtained; curtaining ˈkərt-niŋ How to pronounce curtain (audio)

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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 in shame and curtained her face with her hair
Recent Examples on the Web
This is an invitation to look more closely at the complex lives of birds, and a salute to those who help pull back the curtain on the birds’ lives. Julie Zickefoose, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2022 The new Revolver also shares thematic similarities with Get Back: Both projects pull back the curtain on some of the Beatles’ most beloved songs, humanizing the four men who have achieved divine status in the eyes of so many fans. Ella Feldman, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Nov. 2022 Why pull the curtain back on that — showing that there’s someone there who does not have the best intentions. Emily Longeretta, Variety, 26 Oct. 2022 Recently, a few marques have been more willing to pull back the curtain on their decision-making, if only a little. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 17 Sep. 2022 Political obsessives — especially those who closely observe Democratic Party politicians and operatives, eager to pull back the curtain and peek into their conversations and debates — are in for a treat. Emily Tamkin, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2022 The project is meant to pull back the curtain of church hypocrisy, forcing congregations of past and present to wrestle with the darkness that often corrupts what should be one of our safest spaces. Ineye Komonibo,, 8 Sep. 2022 One of his main goals was to pull the curtain back on the most fascinating cultural and political figures of our time and reexamine their inner lives. Jann S. Wenner, Rolling Stone, 2 Sep. 2022 Next week, Apple will pull back the curtain on the iPhone 14. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 29 Aug. 2022
The second indicator that something was awry was the shower curtain rhythmically swaying back and forth. Suhauna Hussainstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2022 Until the project is completed next month, players will dress and prepare for games in a curtain-and-rod set-up on the floor of the community rink next door. Matt Porter,, 29 Oct. 2022 The teens were also beaten with extension cords, curtain rods and metal poles, according to court records. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 21 Oct. 2022 For fashion's biggest night, the hairstylist adorned Hadid's hair with micro braids along the hairline, curls beehived above the crown, and curtain bangs to top off the look. Chelsea Avila, Allure, 17 Oct. 2022 In the photo, Michele — looking glamorous in a black blazer and gold hoop earrings — stands in front of a black stage curtain with one arm wrapped lovingly around Criss and the other around his wife, filmmaker Mia Swier. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 6 Oct. 2022 That saves time on all kinds of projects, including installing shelves, curtain rods and cabinet hardware as well as assembly projects requiring different bits, including Phillips, slotted, square recess and nut drivers. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 30 Sep. 2022 Regard dark corners with caution and approach every wall or curtain with the assumption that there's a terrifying monster just behind it. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 18 Sep. 2022 And, the panel is made with rust-proof grommets that can fit curtain rods up to a 1.5-inch diameter. Rachel Dube, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near curtain

Cite this Entry

“Curtain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a piece of material (as cloth) hung up to darken, hide, divide, or decorate
: the opening or closing of the curtain in front of the stage of a theater
: something that covers, hides, or separates like a curtain
curtain verb

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