Definition of curtain in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəːt(ə)n/


1A piece of material suspended at the top to form a screen, typically movable sideways along a rail and found as 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.
window hanging, hanging, screen, blind;
net curtain, cafe curtain, portière, blackout;
drop curtain, drop scene, tableau curtain, safety curtain;
North American  drape;
in Muslim & Hindu societies purdah
screen, cover, shield, cloak, veil, pall
2 (the curtain) A screen of heavy cloth or other material that can be raised or lowered at the front of a stage: he wants to see you directly the curtain comes down
More 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.
2.1A raising or lowering of the curtain at the beginning or end of an act or scene: 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.
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
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.
screen, separate, isolate;
conceal, hide, shield, mask, veil, shroud


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.


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

Line breaks: cur|tain

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