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 And the curtain raised on the tribute to Bryant just before the Lakers first game since he, daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Lakers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant with LeBron James, Usher and Boys II Men," 1 Feb. 2020 Pelham’s time in Iran allowed him to peek behind the curtains usually held firmly by the Iranian government. Washington Post, "British journalist detained in Iran — but allowed to roam the town — tells his story," 29 Jan. 2020 And yet the curtain closed on 2019 with the global economy seeming, somewhat improbably, pretty much okay. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "The economic threats that loom over 2020," 27 Jan. 2020 Then draw away the curtains and turn on all the light fixtures. oregonlive, "Do these real estate photos say “buy me”? Tips to a faster sale," 21 Jan. 2020 The potential for new insight really came from the other side of the table, so to speak—from an editorial board that had promised to peel back the curtain. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The New York Times," 20 Jan. 2020 The red curtains from a stage in the gym billow as wood, bricks, and pieces of the building rush toward the running children. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'I was praying': Video shows students running after wind blows roof off elementary school gym," 15 Jan. 2020 As the curtain closes on 2019, Broncos general manager John Elway has some intriguing decisions to make. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Broncos safety Justin Simmons: “If I could choose, I would stay”," 27 Dec. 2019 Another stood on the other side of the curtain in the room as a rape victim was examined. Alison Bowen,, "They went to an emergency room for help after a sexual assault. Instead, they were arrested.," 10 Dec. 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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curtain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 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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