cur·​ti·​lage ˈkər-tə-lij How to pronounce curtilage (audio)
: 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curtilage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near curtilage

Cite this Entry

“Curtilage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Legal Definition


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


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

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