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 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.
Hence curtain vb. XIII.