lift the curtain on


a hanging piece of fabric used to shut out the light from a window, adorn a room, increase privacy, etc.
a movable or folding screen used for similar purposes.
Chiefly New England. a window shade.
a set of hanging drapery for concealing all or part of the stage or set from the view of the audience.
the act or time of raising or opening a curtain at the start of a performance: an 8:30 curtain.
the end of a scene or act indicated by the closing or falling of a curtain: first-act curtain.
an effect, line, or plot solution at the conclusion of a performance: a strong curtain; weak curtain.
music signaling the end of a radio or television performance.
(used as a direction in a script of a play to indicate that a scene or act is concluded.)
anything that shuts off, covers, or conceals: a curtain of artillery fire.
Architecture. a relatively flat or featureless extent of wall between two pavilions or the like.
Fortification. the part of a wall or rampart connecting two bastions, towers, or the like.
curtains, Slang. the end; death, especially by violence: It looked like curtains for another mobster.
verb (used with object)
to provide, shut off, conceal, or adorn with, or as if with, a curtain.
draw the curtain on/over,
to bring to a close: to draw the curtain on a long career of public service.
to keep secret.
lift the curtain on,
to commence; start.
to make known or public; disclose: to lift the curtain on a new scientific discovery.

1250–1300; Middle English co(u)rtine < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin cortīna, probably equivalent to co(ho)rt- (stem of cohors; see court) + -īna -ine1, as calque of Greek aulaía curtain, derivative of aulḗ courtyard

curtainless, adjective
uncurtained, adjective

1. drapery, portiere, lambrequin, valance. 1, 3. Curtain, blind, shade, shutter agree in being covers for a window, to shut out light or keep persons from looking in. Curtain, blind and shade may mean a cover, usually of cloth, which can be rolled up and down inside the window. Curtain however, may also refer to a drapery at a window; and a Venetian blind consists of slats mounted on tapes for drawing up or down and varying the pitch of the slats. Blind and shutter may mean a cover made of two wooden frames with movable slats, attached by hinges outside a window and pulled together or opened at will. Shutters may mean also a set of panels (wooden or iron) put up outside small shops or stores at closing time.

3. See window shade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To lift the curtain on
World English Dictionary
curtain (ˈkɜːtən)
1.  a piece of material that can be drawn across an opening or window, to shut out light or to provide privacy
2.  a barrier to vision, access, or communication: a curtain of secrecy
3.  a hanging cloth or similar barrier for concealing all or part of a theatre stage from the audience
4.  the curtain the end of a scene of a play, opera, etc, marked by the fall or closing of the curtain
5.  the rise or opening of the curtain at the start of a performance
vb (sometimes foll by off)
6.  to shut off or conceal with or as if with a curtain
7.  (tr) to provide (a window, etc) with curtains
[C13: from Old French courtine, from Late Latin cortīna enclosed place, curtain, probably from Latin cohors courtyard]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. curtine, from L.L. cortina "curtain," but originally "round vessel, cauldron," from L. cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard." The confusion apparently begins in using cortina as a loan-translation for Gk. aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Heb. yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1,
etc.) because the Gk. word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" of a Gk. house that led out to the courtyard was a hung cloth. The fig. sense in curtain call is from 1884. Curtains "the end" is 1912, originally from stage plays.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Curtain definition

(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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature