Definition of curb in English:



  • 1North American A stone or concrete edging to a street or path.

    • ‘He led the boy to the street's curb and sat him down.’
    • ‘She had to sit on the hard concrete curb in order to collect herself.’
    • ‘One was sitting on the street curb and appeared aggravated; he held his head in his hands staring straight down at the cement and he was shaking his head angrily.’
    • ‘She jumped off the curb onto the street and kicked a rock ahead of her.’
    • ‘This makes it an ideal choice for a number of repair situations, and is an ideal choice for repairing curbs, steps, concrete walls and other similar areas without having to erect forms.’
    • ‘Hot concrete curbs caused soil to crack and become parched along residential streets.’
    • ‘They sit my driver and me on a concrete curb, still in the shadows of the alley.’
    • ‘As the bus hit and jumped the street curb, the mass of people would be slammed forwards and to one side before being whipped the other way as the bus stopped.’
    • ‘He was about to step off the curb to cross the street.’
    • ‘Improvements to this major arterial included placement of 15,000 square yards of concrete pavement with 12-foot joint spacing and new concrete curbs and gutters.’
    • ‘The high school parking lot has a cinder surface instead of asphalt, wooden ties instead of concrete for the curbs.’
    • ‘Prevent further washout by building up the soil and sod next to the walk, or by edging the walk with a concrete curb, brick, or stone.’
    • ‘Blackbirds flirt and do their mating flutter at the curb on Main Street.’
    • ‘Their pictures look like chunks of ground that have been prised up and stuck on a gallery wall, and range from squares of beach to the double yellow - lined curb of a street corner.’
    • ‘And then the female grabbed my right arm and dragged me across the street and up the curb.’
    • ‘She sat on the street curb and leafed through the newspaper.’
    • ‘The work mainly consists of painting street curbs and picking up trash.’
    • ‘Concrete curbs filled with sealer will crack if not fully supported underneath.’
    • ‘Residential paving is one of the largest markets in the United States for new streets, reconstruction and curb and gutter.’
    • ‘Street curbs have been changed in many areas; elevators have been added.’
  • 2A check or restraint on something.

    ‘curbs on the powers of labor unions’
    • ‘Although some of his reforms were laudable, they were combined with strict curbs on the powers of the parliaments, convincing many that the hour of despotism had struck.’
    • ‘But a number of trusts have said they should be allowed more flexibility over the curbs on hours, which will become even stricter next year when the European Working Time Directive limits the maximum to 58 per week.’
    • ‘The latest notion from FIFA - the game's world governing body - is to introduce curbs on how many games football's top performers should play in a season.’
    • ‘Claiming there were no curbs on academic freedom, the minister said the violations reported by the rights group were no more than ‘individual incidents’.’
    • ‘One of Britain's leading surgeons has called on the government to introduce curbs on the sale of alcohol, limiting the amount that customers can consume per visit to a pub or bar.’
    • ‘On the one side, technology has increased the choice available for the people and on the other governments are trying to put curbs on free flow of information.’
    • ‘It all began with curbs on open grazing and felling of trees, control on population growth and ban on dowry and alcoholism.’
    • ‘It is the received wisdom of the modern world that all wild creatures, including snakes, should suffer no curbs on their freedom or on the indulgence of their natural instincts, however distasteful those instincts may be.’
    • ‘Despite the rosy growth forecasts, it has announced strict curbs on the industry.’
    • ‘On Dec. 14, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board proposed stricter curbs on audit firms selling tax services to their clients.’
    • ‘Despite curbs on satellite TV, many get such broadcasts, as well as bootleg videotapes and smuggled publications.’
    • ‘Now that there are curbs on smoking in public places and increased awareness on the dangers of passive smoking, cigarette - smoking shows signs of declining, we are told.’
    • ‘There should also be strict curbs on extravaganzas using power.’
    • ‘Beijing is encouraging the development of big retail groups as part of attempts to strengthen the industry before it lifts curbs on overseas retailers.’
    • ‘Central to the government's bid to rein in economic growth have been administrative curbs on lending, especially to money-losing state enterprises.’
    • ‘The proposals are part of a wide-ranging White Paper on public health which also includes curbs on junk food advertising and the introduction of NHS personal health trainers.’
    • ‘He also suggested stringent curbs on slow-moving vehicles must be laid on flyovers, while preventing them from overspeeding at the same time.’
    • ‘And health experts predict curbs on sugar and fat will soon be introduced to prevent manufacturers adding excessive amounts to their products.’
    • ‘Banks worldwide are targeting mainland lending, credit card, insurance and fund management services as it prepares to meet World Trade Organisation rules by lifting curbs on lenders.’
    • ‘His fate was also sealed by thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets on Friday night to protest strict curbs on bank deposits and his appointment of a Cabinet many believed was rife with corruption.’
    restraint, restriction, check, brake, rein, control, limitation, limit, constraint, stricture
    deterrent, damper, suppressant, retardant
    crackdown, clampdown
    View synonyms
  • 3A type of bit that is widely used in western riding. In English riding it is usually only used with a snaffle as part of a double bridle.

    • ‘These horsemen rode with short stirrups, in snaffle bridles with a loose rein, in an uncollected, free forward manner that was the exact opposite of the extreme collection of the Continental riding school, with its emphasis on curb bits.’
    • ‘The curb bit promises collection - contained energy, not free forward movement - and hence submission to the will of the rider.’
    • ‘The soldiers ride bays or chestnuts and use United States Army regulation saddles, saddlecloths, halters, bridles, and curb bits.’
    • ‘Too often I see people with track horses, who they are afraid of, sticking a big curb bit in their mouth.’
    • ‘Because of this exaggerated pressure and release, curb bits impede true feel and understanding between you and your horse.’
  • 4A swelling on the back of a horse's hock, caused by spraining a ligament.


  • 1Restrain or keep in check.

    ‘she promised she would curb her temper’
    • ‘In order to curb inflation, money growth must fall below growth in economic output.’
    • ‘Surely there's a way to curb smoking without seriously hampering such businesses.’
    • ‘They are the first steps in action to curb anti-social behaviour and are voluntary.’
    • ‘The tobacco companies offer the perfect illustration of the ways that corporations can effectively curb discussions about their products.’
    • ‘In short, critics say, it could mean a return to the undisciplined days of a decade ago, before many governments had to curb runaway spending to qualify for the euro.’
    • ‘Besides, does anyone think youth policies will curb wage inflation among players?’
    • ‘At one extreme governments brought in new laws to curb what they saw as seditious journalism.’
    • ‘Certain good fats actually help curb your appetite, thus speeding up weight loss.’
    • ‘He also stated that the government was trying to produce a single regulation to curb smuggling across the country.’
    • ‘He congratulated the police and council on working effectively together to curb anti-social behaviour.’
    • ‘Fearing rampant speculation, the government has ordered banks to curb lending for property investment.’
    • ‘But he also needs the cooperation of the people in curbing the menace.’
    • ‘Action is being demanded to curb the spread of advertising posters in Bolton.’
    • ‘The club has disinfection mats in place to curb the spread of Foot and Mouth disease.’
    • ‘Worries over job security will curb consumer spending.’
    • ‘The commission was hearing submissions on ways to curb the spread of HIV in prison.’
    • ‘The experts and the central bank will discuss possible ways to curb lending growth.’
    • ‘But it hasn't curbed my appetite… it's almost like it's been sent into overdrive.’
    • ‘When she's not curbing her enthusiasm, where does she hang her hat?’
    • ‘Two citizen organizations are working to curb the excesses of commercialism in our society.’
    restrain, hold back, keep back, hold in, repress, suppress, fight back, bite back, keep in check, check, control, keep under control, rein in, keep a tight rein on, contain, discipline, govern, bridle, tame, subdue, stifle, smother, swallow, choke back, muzzle, silence, muffle, strangle, gag
    limit, put a limit on, keep within bounds, put the brakes on, slow down, retard, restrict, constrain, deter, impede, inhibit
    freeze, peg
    button up, keep a lid on, keep the lid on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Restrain (a horse) by means of a curb.
      • ‘The raw energy, just curbed by their athletic riders, of the Parthenon horses comes to us straight from the ice age, from the dawn of humanity.’
      • ‘It didn't help that his holographic partner, a die-hard environmentalist, kept urging him to clean up after the mess; curbing a horse is not easy to do.’
      • ‘The educational authorities have moved swiftly to curb this bucking bronco, whose 100 percent pass rates were the wonder of the land.’
  • 2Lead (a dog being walked) near the curb to urinate or defecate.


Late 15th century (denoting a strap fastened to the bit): from Old French courber bend, bow from Latin curvare (see curve).