Definition of curtail in English:

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Pronunciation: /kərˈtāl/


[with object]
1Reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on: civil liberties were further curtailed
More example sentences
  • But what they end up with, after all the reserve they impose (and which curtails their creative impetus) is merely anecdotal.
  • I think it is a pity that they did not get an opportunity to curtail the hours and restrict the use of the main auditorium.
  • Play is now restricted or curtailed with the par reduced and handicaps proportionately trimmed.
reduce, cut, cut down, decrease, lessen, pare down, trim, retrench;
restrict, limit, curb, rein in
informal slash
1.1 (curtail someone of) archaic Deprive someone of (something): I that am curtailed of this fair proportion


Late 15th century: from obsolete curtal 'horse with a docked tail', from French courtault, from court 'short', from Latin curtus. The change in the ending was due to association with tail1 and perhaps also with French tailler 'to cut'.

Words that rhyme with curtail

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cur·tail

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