Definition of curtain in US English:



  • 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’
    • ‘I look up the hill at the empty black window with the lace curtain.’
    • ‘I can draw a window curtain or adjust overhead lights.’
    • ‘I sighed and took one final look at the sky and then went inside my bedroom, shutting my window and my curtain so that I couldn't look outside anymore.’
    • ‘The men had tacked up a navy blue material to act as curtains over the stern windows.’
    • ‘Now it's time to draw back the curtains, open the windows, and get on with it.’
    • ‘Trying not to pull your hair out in irritation, you walk up to the window, draw the curtains, unlatch the window, push it open.’
    • ‘I locked my window and drew the curtain quickly afterwards.’
    • ‘Aside from a pair of drab grey curtains which covered the window over the sink, the room was free of decorations.’
    • ‘I have no doubt it now hangs over a window as a make-shift curtain or is draped on a wall.’
    • ‘She closed the windows and drew the curtains once more before grabbing a pair of red, high heels shoes and a brown coat from her closet.’
    • ‘When the sun fell in through the curtains of his bedroom window the next morning, she smiled listlessly.’
    • ‘Sienna followed him, and watched as he walked up to a large curtain along the left wall and drew it aside to reveal another room.’
    • ‘An improvised curtain covered the window between the two rooms, so the intercom was the only means of communication.’
    • ‘A bearded man drew back the curtain over the window.’
    • ‘She might get a piece of material to make curtains for the kitchen window and some oilcloth for the table.’
    • ‘Often the photographs are shot in bedrooms, next to a window with a curtain blowing from it, conveying the isolation of adolescence and the yearning for what lies beyond.’
    • ‘In Peter's parents' house, every window has a net curtain.’
    • ‘You glance up to the window, curtains drawn to reveal the moon hanging in the clear night sky, gleaming softly.’
    • ‘There is a washbasin, a chair with a tatty dressing gown slung over it, and a window with the curtains drawn.’
    • ‘He began to draw the curtains across the screen, and to put the house lights on.’
    window hanging, hanging, screen, blind
    screen, cover, shield, cloak, veil, pall
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the curtain A screen of heavy cloth or other material that can be raised or lowered at the front of a stage.
      • ‘Perry sighed and started to walk behind the stage, where the curtain was closed and he was hid from view.’
      • ‘He walked me on stage, opened the curtain a little bit and pointed to a seat.’
      • ‘The magician invites the heckler up on stage, positions him directly in front of the curtain, and begins ‘hypnotising’ him.’
      • ‘He goes into the audience and I go on stage behind the curtain that separates the band from the foyer.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, it makes the front stage curtain look shabby.’
      • ‘For the first time the audience was allowed behind the curtain of the stage.’
      • ‘With that, Sheena left the screen and the curtain was pulled back.’
      • ‘This neat device allows a smooth transition between the numerous scenes but the curtain goes up and down like a yo-yo and becomes wearisome after a while.’
      • ‘The manager of the club walked up in front of the curtain and made an introduction, ‘Alright, this is the moment you have all waited for!’’
      • ‘Two hold up the curtain that frames the scene, one lays out the child's clothes, and three arrange flowers in his crib.’
      • ‘She slipped down off the stage and behind the curtain into the darkness of backstage.’
      • ‘About twenty minutes after they had arrived, a guitar chord was struck from behind the curtain covering the stage.’
      • ‘That night, because Jocelyn's character didn't appear until the third scene, she stood on the side of the stage behind the curtain and peeked out quickly.’
      • ‘So he took Roy and he put him back stage behind the curtain.’
      • ‘Grace sat at the spinning wheel in the center of the stage and the curtain rose, to reveal an abandoned Marguerite.’
      • ‘He was playing Max Bialystock and for whatever reason, that night there was a problem with the set, so Jason stepped out in front of the curtain.’
      • ‘A massive red curtain hung over the stage and Anna could hear the orchestra playing down below.’
      • ‘Yukiko enters, and sees the empty stage, curtain folded across.’
      • ‘Ashley stepped out from behind the curtain on the stage and tapped on the microphone.’
      • ‘As the rest of the Training Center filed out, I walked up onto the stage and behind the curtain.’
    2. 1.2 A 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’
      • ‘It was as if somebody had lowered the curtain and the actors had fallen out of their roles.’
      • ‘After the introduction before the curtain, Scene 1 was the same as Scene 2 of Act I was.’
      • ‘At last, the curtain is raised, and Jackson takes center stage and immediately owns the crowd.’
      • ‘Of course, in Hollywood, nothing ever ends until the curtain comes down.’
      • ‘Right from the curtain going up on the opening number, it is clear that Tommy the musical is here to rock Bradford.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the curtain rises we are greeted with a luscious scene of thousands of colours, silks and velvets, flowers and feathers, glass and jewels.’
      • ‘The curtain rises on the White House briefing room.’
      • ‘Even the cast seems to have been infected by the drab spirit that settles over the stage the moment the curtain rises.’
      • ‘And tonight the curtain will go up for the opening night of the open-air production in Blackpool's Stanley Park.’
      • ‘He was really desperately, desperately nervous and of course, he went on stage and the curtain went up and a ‘star was born’ can I say.’
      • ‘As the curtain rose on the stage, Evan's brain actually functioned the way he had wanted it to for so long.’
      • ‘When the curtain rises, the stage looks like a slaughterhouse.’
      • ‘This political party will take center stage when the curtain rises on their convention one week from today in Boston.’
      • ‘Butterflies flew through everyone's stomachs as the curtain rose on the stage.’
      • ‘The stage is covered with a canvas, as if the scene presented as the curtain rises was captured by a linen frame.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Amanda, meanwhile, has only a few days to go before the curtain rises on her stage ‘comeback’.’
      • ‘And just like that, CNN raised the curtain on the new faces of the network in front of its largest audience since the War.’
      • ‘I thought I was going to a movie, and I thought that when the curtain went up I would see a movie screen.’
    3. 1.3curtainsinformal A disastrous outcome.
      ‘it looked like curtains for me’
      • ‘One more overdose and it's curtains for Marcia, one suspects.’
      • ‘On that bombshell, is this curtains for Radio Norwich's most famous early morning DJ?’
      • ‘I guess if one team wins, it's curtains for the other and that's quite heavy.’
      • ‘His point four minutes later put four between them and it looked curtains for Ring.’
      • ‘A score then would have been curtains for Parkville but the star player almost levelled on 86 minutes.’
      • ‘However, without anywhere to play and no funds for kit and equipment, it looked like curtains for the budding Beckhams.’
      • ‘The guy gets heckled by a few Tory women, and it's curtains for New Labour.’
      • ‘Residents of a small Bury street say plans to let bedsits in an end-terraced house may spell curtains for their community.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But this 6-match ban may well spell curtains for the greatest captain India has ever seen.’
      • ‘But the former council leader who helped to set up the centre, said he feared it was curtains for the museum.’
      • ‘Just when you thought it was curtains for Wicklow, back they came.’
      • ‘If I can't sort this out, it will have to be curtains for the blog.’
      • ‘Last month it all came to a head, and for a short while it looked like curtains for racing in New York, America's most important state for the sport.’
      • ‘Blame it on the advent of multiplexes or a dip in the movie culture, its curtains for more than 20 cinema halls in the city.’
      • ‘It looked curtains for them when their lead player had to leave the field with an injury midway through the first-half.’
      • ‘It was curtains for the puppetry event around seven in the night.’
      • ‘But when the substitute's strike went over for a point it was curtains for Thurles.’
      • ‘When videos came out all those years ago people thought it was curtains for cinemas, but that's not been the case.’
      • ‘Once I have written this, it's enter soundtrack, cue vacuum, then it's curtains for this shambles.’
      demise, dying, end, passing, passing away, passing on, loss of life, expiry, expiration, departure from life, final exit, eternal rest
      View synonyms


[with object]often as adjective curtained
  • 1Provide with a curtain or curtains.

    ‘a curtained window’
    • ‘There were four curtained windows through which we could see that it was already dark outside, and a door that was slightly ajar.’
    • ‘The windows were heavily curtained, all the doors closed but the open archway that led into a small kitchen.’
    • ‘The windows were clean and curtained on the inside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hall, with heavily curtained windows, was plunged into darkness and the public address system stopped working.’
    • ‘When the windows were not curtained, one could just make out the Caspian Sea with its oil rigs and various boats and ships moored there.’
    • ‘An image from 1964 shows the dark facade of an apartment building, its windows closed and curtained.’
    • ‘As usual, the room was still dark - the windows still curtained and closed - and no one was in it but her.’
    • ‘The seascape window was curtained against brisk wind.’
    • ‘His eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room, illuminated by a single, heavily curtained window.’
    • ‘Her cat continued to sleep peacefully, sun from one curtained window warming her fur.’
    • ‘There were two beds and one massive, velvet curtained window overlooking the school garden.’
    • ‘Up the stairs and to the right, far from the door but close to the dark, curtained windows, was a large porch swing.’
    • ‘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 room had three beds set in a row, the last next to a lavishly curtained window with a breathtaking view of the buildings and roads below.’
    • ‘On the ground floor he set the entrance back with a long, small-paned, and curtained window, expressing a discreet welcome.’
    • ‘I looked around me, examining the many curtained windows.’
    • ‘Examples include Dutch doors, which can be open, closed, or half open, and interior windows that can be curtained.’
    • ‘Bulkheads were finished in a woven bamboo-striped motif contrasting with the square-shaped windows curtained in a fish/pineapple pattern.’
    1. 1.1 Conceal or screen with a curtain.
      ‘a curtained-off side room’
      figurative ‘her unbound hair curtaining her face’
      • ‘Maxwell was standing there, head bowed and hair curtaining his face, a shy blush tingeing his cheeks pink.’
      • ‘She leaned down into the mud and thanked whatever supreme power that still liked her for allowing her hair to curtain her face.’
      • ‘Samantha bowed her head so that her hair curtained her face, successfully concealing the crimson that stole over her cheeks in embarrassment.’
      • ‘He ducked his head shyly, bangs curtaining and hiding his face.’
      • ‘Finally he found a curtained place, hidden from sight, yet enabling to view the room.’
      • ‘He leaned stylishly on the tree, his head lowered, his face curtained by his brown hair dyed with streaks of blond, and his arms and legs crossed.’
      • ‘Sharp fanged teeth grinned at Jake while rich ruby eyes were curtained with silver and black hair.’
      • ‘He glanced around and saw her sitting in the corner of the room, her knees to her chest, her head hanging and her hair curtaining her face.’
      • ‘Tears tickled her tired eyes as she slid down the door her wild hair curtaining her pained face.’
      • ‘Stretching out his long length, his black hair curtained his face as his lightning blue eyes disappeared under a sweep of raven lashes.’
      • ‘The value and livability will be improved if there is a clear bed area that can be curtained off, and a separate kitchen is essential.’
      • ‘The door was slid open and Melan peered out, a tumble of golden-brown hair curtaining her face.’
      • ‘A curtained doorway separated it from the office.’
      • ‘Willows had their hair down, curtaining the river singing softly by the footpath.’
      • ‘She stayed hidden in a curtained room with a handsome, brutish Aussie.’
      • ‘Behind it were doors for exits and entrances and a curtained booth or alcove useful for actors to hide inside.’
      • ‘However, her eyes remained trained on the plaque as her hair fell forward to curtain her from public view.’
      • ‘She lowered her head so her hair curtained her face so he couldn't see her satisfied smirk.’
      • ‘Her long, golden hair curtained her face, and you could just see her stunning eyes from behind.’
      • ‘‘Yes,’ the girl mumbled back as her copper hair fell forward to curtain her face.’
      screen, separate, isolate
      View synonyms


  • bring down the curtain on

    • Bring to an end.

      ‘her decision brought down the curtain on a glittering 30-year career’
      • ‘York brings down the curtain on its 2000 campaign this weekend with a three-day meeting, which starts tomorrow and reaches a climax on Saturday with the £30,000 Coral Eurobet Sprint Trophy.’
      • ‘Today, over coffee before work, I finally brought down the curtain on a very low period in my life.’
      • ‘A huge crowd packed into Mullaghmore on Sunday for the annual All-Ireland Donkey Derby, which brought down the curtain on the very successful Lobster Festival.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her farewell brings down the curtain on a 42-year career in the NHS - all of it spent in Bradford - which began as a nurse cadet in 1960 and ended as assistant director of training and development.’
      • ‘Mr B. insisted he had no personal recollection of dealing with the case but added he would not hide behind civil servants and accepted full responsibility himself - bringing down the curtain on an exceptional political career.’
      • ‘Its findings might be that bit easier to live with if we at least knew that it was bringing down the curtain on a particularly distasteful chapter in Irish politics.’
      • ‘The veteran defender recently brought down the curtain on an 11-year association with the Bantams but don't expect him to be putting his feet up.’
      • ‘‘There are places that have meant more to me than Trieste,’ says Morris, bringing down the curtain on her glittering career.’
      • ‘Dunn finally brought down the curtain on his Rovers career last night after agreeing a £5.5 million club-record move to the Midlands club.’
      • ‘I think it was quite fitting that Blackburn Rovers brought down the curtain on this season with a goalless draw at Tottenham on Sunday.’
      • ‘That brought down the curtain on the scoring, but there was still another highly entertaining 45 minutes to come.’
      • ‘The club's longest-serving player will bring down the curtain on 11 years at Valley Parade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Much further north - as far as you can go in racing terms - Perth brings down the curtain on its three-day festival with a competitive programme.’
      • ‘He has plenty of time on his hands now that Sheffield Wednesday have brought down the curtain on his injury-ravaged four-year spell at Hillsborough.’
      • ‘It brought down the curtain on a York career which began in 1991 after he signed from New Earswick All Blacks.’
      • ‘A dismal week for Wales brought down the curtain on the era of that great player, but who will replace him?’
      • ‘Meanwhile, two goals in the last minute brought down the curtain on an amazing 1-1 draw between Montrose and Brechin City at Links Park.’
      • ‘The recent death of the Olympian has brought down the curtain on a great life.’


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