verb cur·tail \(ˌ)kər-ˈtāl\

: to reduce or limit (something)

Full Definition of CURTAIL

transitive verb
:  to make less by or as if by cutting off or away some part <curtail the power of the executive branch> <curtail inflation>
cur·tail·er \-ˈtā-lər\ noun

Origin of CURTAIL

by folk etymology from earlier curtal to dock an animal's tail, from curtal, noun, animal with a docked tail, from Middle French courtault — more at curtal
First Known Use: 1580

Synonym Discussion of CURTAIL

shorten, curtail, abbreviate, abridge, retrench mean to reduce in extent. shorten implies reduction in length or duration <shorten a speech>. curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy <ceremonies curtailed because of rain>. abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part <using an abbreviated title>. abridge implies a reduction in compass or scope with retention of essential elements and a relative completeness in the result <the abridged version of the novel>. retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive <declining business forced the company to retrench>.
CURTAILING Defined for Kids


verb cur·tail \ˌkər-ˈtāl\

Definition of CURTAIL for Kids

:  to shorten or reduce by cutting off the end or a part of <I had to curtail my speech.>


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