views updated May 29 2018

curtail. In a stair, the outward curving or scroll-shaped part of the handrail, and the outer end of the lowest step. In grander stairs the first flight, detached from a wall, may have a curtail-or scroll-step with curved parts at each end of the balustrades and lowest step, often curving around the centre-line of the newels. See stair drawing (i).

2. The scrolled shape gives the term curlicue or curleycue to a façade with scrolled gable, otherwise known as a curtail façade, common in Belgium and The Netherlands.


views updated Jun 08 2018

cur·tail / kərˈtāl/ • v. [tr.] (often be curtailed) reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on. ∎  (curtail someone of) archaic deprive someone of (something).DERIVATIVES: cur·tail·ment / kərˈtālmənt/ n.


views updated Jun 11 2018

curtail †dock; cut short. XVI. orig. curtal(l), f. †curtal horse with docked tail (XV) — F. courtault, -auld (mod. courtaud), f. court short; assoc. at an early date with TAIL 1.