curtain

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cur·tain / ˈkərtn/ • n. a piece of material suspended at the top to form a covering or screen, typically one of a pair at a window: fig. through the curtain of falling snow, she could just make out gravestones. ∎  (the curtain) a screen of heavy cloth or other material that can be raised or lowered at the front of a stage. ∎  a raising or lowering of such a screen at the beginning or end of an act or scene. ∎  (curtains) inf. a disastrous outcome: it looked like curtains for me.• v. [tr.] provide with a curtain or curtains. ∎  conceal or screen with a curtain.PHRASES: bring down the curtain on bring to an end.

curtain

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curtain curtain call the appearance of one or more performers on stage after a performance to acknowledge the audience's applause.
curtain lecture an instance of a wife reprimanding her husband in private (recorded from the mid 17th century, and originally a reprimand given behind bed curtains).
curtain-raiser an entertainment or other event happening just before a longer or more important one (recorded from the mid 19th century, and originally used in the theatre to denote a short opening piece performed before a play).
curtain wall a fortified wall around a medieval castle, typically one linking towers together.

See also bamboo curtain, iron curtain.

curtain

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curtain sb. XIII. ME. cortine, curtine, later curtain(e), -ein(e) — OF. cortine (mod. courtine) :- late L. cortīna, used in the Vulgate (Exodus 26: 1) to render Gr. aulaía curtain (f. aulḗ court), as if it was regarded as a deriv. of L. co(ho)rt- COURT, whereas in classical L. it meant ‘cauldron’ and was hence applied to circular or arched objects.
Hence curtain vb. XIII.