1425-75;late Middle Englishcurtailen to restrict (said of royal succession or inheritance), probably a conflation of Middle Frenchcourtau(l)d (see curtal) and Middle Englishtaillen to cut (see taille, tailor)
late 15c., from M.Fr. courtault "made short," from court "short," from L. curtus (see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Gmc. origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling.