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[ker-teyl] /kərˈteɪl/
verb (used with object)
to cut short; cut off a part of; abridge; reduce; diminish.
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English curtailen to restrict (said of royal succession or inheritance), probably a conflation of Middle French courtau(l)d (see curtal) and Middle English taillen to cut (see taille, tailor)
Related forms
curtailedly, adverb
curtailer, noun
curtailment, noun
noncurtailing, adjective
noncurtailment, noun
uncurtailed, adjective
lessen, dock. See shorten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for curtailing
  • But now the excruciating pain between her shoulder blades was curtailing her movements and making her feel old.
  • There are no significant technical obstacles that are curtailing current growth and development.
  • Some are prescriptive, enshrining freedoms, curtailing the powers of the state and generally hampering would-be dictators.
  • As they slowly begin to build an independent economy, the revolutionaries are curtailing the colonel's access to supplies.
  • Improvements in financial regulation can reduce the risks of financial crises without curtailing sustained economic growth.
  • Either course-curtailing support for personnel or curtailing personnel-is likely to engender resentment in the military.
  • It cannot be an argument for curtailing a right, once granted, simply that society would pay a further price in extending it.
  • It makes the country's exports more expensive, curtailing economic growth.
  • One school announced it was closing and others are reorganizing or curtailing student capacity, or both.
British Dictionary definitions for curtailing


(transitive) to cut short; abridge
Derived Forms
curtailer, noun
curtailment, noun
Word Origin
C16: changed (through influence of tail1) from obsolete curtal to dock; see curtal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for curtailing



late 15c., from Middle French courtault "made short," from court "short" (Old French cort, from Latin curtus; see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling. Related: Curtailed; curtailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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