cur·​ti·​lage | \ ˈkər-tə-lij How to pronounce curtilage (audio) \

Definition of curtilage

: a piece of ground (such as a yard or courtyard) within the fence surrounding a house

Examples of curtilage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In legal parlance, curtilage refers to land attached to a house, like a yard or garden. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 2 Dec. 2019 The Supreme Court long has recognized that privacy interests are heightened within the home, with precedents that limit police intrusions not only into structures but also the immediately surrounding property, known as the curtilage. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curtilage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of curtilage

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for curtilage

Middle English, from Anglo-French curtillage, from curtil garden, curtilage, from curt court

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

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Cite this Entry

“Curtilage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for curtilage


cur·​ti·​lage | \ ˈkərt-ᵊl-ij How to pronounce curtilage (audio) \

Legal Definition of curtilage

: the area surrounding and associated with a home

Note: The curtilage of a house is included in the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

History and Etymology for curtilage

Anglo-French curtillage enclosed land belonging to a house, kitchen garden, from Old French cortillage kitchen garden, from cortil garden, ultimately from Latin cohort-, cohors farmyard

More from Merriam-Webster on curtilage

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