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 curtain (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

Other Words from curtain


curtainless \ ˈkər-​tᵊn-​ləs How to pronounce curtain (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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just over six feet long and three feet wide, the tiny vessel on view is lined with a blue plastic shower curtain. Nili Blanck, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 May 2022 Their son, Vlad, 22, probably saved his mother’s life by fashioning a tourniquet out of a curtain to stanch the bleeding until the family could find a car amid the chaos to take her to the hospital. Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2022 The old wall between Fox and Fox News is more of a sheer curtain these days. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2022 Authorities also found incendiary devices behind a black curtain in the fellowship hall. Paul Best, Fox News, 16 May 2022 The back of the stage-house was adorned with a black curtain. Matt Wake |, al, 14 May 2022 Your philodendron needs bright, indirect light or it can also be placed in a bright window shaded with a sheer curtain. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 13 May 2022 In this Greenwich Village studio, William Cullum made the ultimate statement with electric pink walls and a matching marbled shower curtain, courtesy of Voutsa. Kelsey Mulvey, ELLE Decor, 3 May 2022 The shower, an insert with a waterfall head, is nestled underneath a skylight and behind a shower curtain. Globe Staff,, 17 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Because Disney Theatrical Productions made its decision so close to curtain time, Broadway in Cincinnati was unable to send emails or texts to patrons in a timely fashion, which infuriated a handful of commenters. David Lyman, The Enquirer, 2 May 2022 And there are no light blocks — that curtain in a gallery. Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain., 6 Jan. 2022 Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain., 6 Jan. 2022 Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain., 6 Jan. 2022 Nearly two years ago, athletic department officials decided to curtain off 43% of the seats, lowering the basketball seating capacity of the Pac-12′s largest building to 8,500. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Jan. 2022 Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain., 6 Jan. 2022 Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain., 6 Jan. 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.

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

Learn More About curtain

Time Traveler for curtain

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near curtain



curtain board

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for curtain

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Curtain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for curtain


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

More from Merriam-Webster on curtain

Nglish: Translation of curtain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curtain for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about curtain


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!