Definition of curtain in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkərtn/


1A piece of material suspended at the top to form a covering or screen, typically one of a pair at a window: she drew the curtains and lit the fire figurative through the curtain of falling snow, she could just make out gravestones
More example sentences
  • I can draw a window curtain or adjust overhead lights.
  • Aside from a pair of drab grey curtains which covered the window over the sink, the room was free of decorations.
  • The men had tacked up a navy blue material to act as curtains over the stern windows.
drape, drapery;
window treatment, window hanging, screen, blind(s), shade;
valance, cafe curtain
1.1 (the curtain) A screen of heavy cloth or other material that can be raised or lowered at the front of a stage.
Example sentences
  • The magician invites the heckler up on stage, positions him directly in front of the curtain, and begins ‘hypnotising’ him.
  • Unfortunately, it makes the front stage curtain look shabby.
  • So he took Roy and he put him back stage behind the curtain.
1.2A raising or lowering of the curtain at the beginning or end of an act or scene on a stage: the art is to hold your audience right from the opening curtain
More example sentences
  • The stage is covered with a canvas, as if the scene presented as the curtain rises was captured by a linen frame.
  • The curtain raises on the opening scene with the cast gathered front of stage to a backdrop of trees, a small camp fire Flickering to one side.
  • From her lonely entrance at the opening curtain, until the slaphappy denouement, she dominates the stage and virtually carries the show on her slim shoulders.
1.3 (curtains) informal A disastrous outcome: it looked like curtains for me
More example sentences
  • I guess if one team wins, it's curtains for the other and that's quite heavy.
  • One more overdose and it's curtains for Marcia, one suspects.
  • Five minutes later burly full forward Luke Ferguson booted the ball to the net for a second goal and it looked curtains for the Carlow town side.


[with object] (often as adjective curtained)
1Provide with a curtain or curtains: a curtained window
More example sentences
  • In the 1970s, however, it was decided that every plate-glass window should be curtained to control the thermal flow inside the building and these curtains have remained ever since.
  • The tables all had salmon coloured cloths with white starched napkins, terracotta tile floors, large curtained bay windows and the atmosphere is very bright and happy.
  • Near the bed sculpture was a curtained window frame, in which sat a monitor showing footage taped from Paik's hospital room and from the couple's loft.
1.1Conceal or screen with a curtain: a curtained-off side room figurative her unbound hair curtaining her face
More example sentences
  • Samantha bowed her head so that her hair curtained her face, successfully concealing the crimson that stole over her cheeks in embarrassment.
  • Stretching out his long length, his black hair curtained his face as his lightning blue eyes disappeared under a sweep of raven lashes.
  • Her long, golden hair curtained her face, and you could just see her stunning eyes from behind.
conceal, hide, screen, shield;
separate, isolate



bring down the curtain on

Bring to an end: her decision brought down the curtain on a glittering 30-year career
More example sentences
  • At worst November 26 will be a night for those seven brave souls to bring down the curtain on what was a marvellous season for Waterford hurling.
  • The club's longest-serving player will bring down the curtain on 11 years at Valley Parade.
  • The win brought down the curtain on the Irish tour and, indeed their season, with a trip that included a shoddy 45-16 defeat at the hands of Australia and an unspectacular 40-19 victory over Tonga.

curtain of fire

chiefly US Rapid, continuous artillery or machine-gun fire on a designated line or area.
Example sentences
  • Our curtain fire and our rifle fire inflicted serious losses on the enemy, who had to fall back in disorder, leaving 200 prisoners in our hands, of whom six were officers.
  • To deprive the enemy of a possibility to fire at the attacking units a dense curtain of fire (ordinary or double barrage) is created or a consistent concentration of fire if hastily established defenses are attacked.
  • Zombie American soldiers perished under the deadly curtain of fire just like everyone else.


Middle English: from Old French cortine, from late Latin cortina, translation of Greek aulaia, from aulē 'court'.

Words that rhyme with curtain

burton, uncertain

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cur·tain

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