c.1300, from Old French cortine "curtain, tapestry, drape, blanket," from Late Latin cortina "curtain," but in classical Latin "round vessel, cauldron," from Latin cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard" (see cohort). The confusion apparently begins in using cortina as a loan-translation for Greek aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Hebrew yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1, etc.) because the Greek word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" of a Greek house that led out to the courtyard was a hung cloth. The figurative sense in curtain call is from 1884. Curtains "the end" is 1912, originally from stage plays.
(1.) Ten curtains, each twenty-eight cubits long and four wide, made of fine linen, also eleven made of goat's hair, covered the tabernacle (Ex. 26:1-13; 36:8-17). (2.) The sacred curtain, separating the holy of holies from the sanctuary, is designated by a different Hebrew word (peroketh). It is described as a "veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work" (Ex. 26:31; Lev. 16:2; Num. 18:7). (3.) "Stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain" (Isa. 40:22), is an expression used with reference to the veil or awning which Orientals spread for a screen over their courts in summer. According to the prophet, the heavens are spread over our heads as such an awning. Similar expressions are found in Ps. 104:2l; comp. Isa. 44:24; Job 9:8.