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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Over time, the pigments in this curtain have discolored to an almost imperceptible brown. Colin B. Bailey, The New York Review of Books, "Masterpieces Unmediated," 27 Apr. 2021 On a warm spring night in 2015, an audience in a Minneapolis school auditorium waited excitedly for the curtain to rise on opening night for my middle school's annual spring play. Olivia Devaraj, Star Tribune, "Every Minnesota school should be 'seizure smart'," 27 Apr. 2021 The curtain remains down on Broadway, with many performances open to the public anticipated to return in the September. USA Today, "Tourists are coming back to New York City as pandemic restrictions ease and 'feel the city reawakening'," 26 Apr. 2021 The fatal mistake the greedy owners made was drawing the curtain back on their real objectives. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Super League's quick demise fueled by greed and disrespect for fans, tradition," 22 Apr. 2021 Written in prose — except for the intermission, which takes the clever form of a dramatic script — Thomas’s novel is a way of thinking about Beckett’s text, and about how the ruminations a play prompts can change us before the curtain falls. New York Times, "5 Things to Do This Weekend," 22 Apr. 2021 Facing the final curtain isn’t easy: Larsen joined OBT in 2003 during then artistic director Christopher Stowell’s inaugural season. oregonlive, "Former Oregon Ballet Theatre ballerina looks back on ‘her life’s passion’," 17 Apr. 2021 Morgan, who managed the PawSox for nine seasons, was sad to see the curtain fall on McCoy Stadium after the summer of 2019., "Recalling a baseball marathon and a win streak with Joe Morgan, and other thoughts," 16 Apr. 2021 President Biden can now claim credit for drawing the curtain on America’s longest war. The Editors, National Review, "Biden’s Risky Afghanistan Exit," 16 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Both Elliott and Lamb suggest heavy-duty Command hooks and a dowel or curtain rod to hang lightweight curtains or fabric panels over less-than-attractive windows or unsightly blinds. Laura Daily, Star Tribune, "How to give your rental a refresh without angering your landlord," 23 Apr. 2021 That could stop the side and curtain air bags from deploying when needed., "Quickbase moving headquarters to Boston," 15 Apr. 2021 Both Elliott and Lamb suggest heavy-duty Command hooks and a dowel or curtain rod to hang lightweight curtains or fabric panels over less-than-attractive windows or unsightly blinds. Washington Post, "How to give your rental a new look — without angering your landlord," 13 Apr. 2021 Also, leave the shower door or curtain open after a shower. oregonlive, "Get your bathroom sparkling with these spring cleaning tips and tricks," 25 Mar. 2021 So many modern skyscrapers feature glass curtain walls that at first glance, the Hallidie Building may appear nothing special. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "One of San Francisco's strangest buildings was a mash-up masterpiece," 19 Mar. 2021 Get accustomed to curtain bangs before taking them above your brows, or try one or two pastel accents instead of going full Lisa Frank. Sara Bosworth, WSJ, "Working From Home Got You Down? Try Dyeing Your Hair Pink," 16 Oct. 2020 If your eyes truly are the windows to your soul, then maybe curtain bangs make sense for you. Donna Freydkin, Allure, "Curtain Bangs Are Trending — Here's How to Wear Them," 18 Sep. 2020 Attach curtain to rod and hang Once the brackets are secure, string your curtains onto your rod from their grommets, hooks, rings, or pockets. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How to Hang Curtains: A Step-by-Step Guide," 4 Aug. 2020

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curtain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for curtain



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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