Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Curtain noun [ Middle English cortin , curtin ,fr. Old French cortine , curtine , French courtine , Late Latin cortina , curtian (in senses 1 and 2), also, small court, small inclosure surrounded by walls, from cortis court. See Court .]


1. A hanging screen intended to darken or conceal, and admitting of being drawn back or up, and reclosed at pleasure; esp., drapery of cloth or lace hanging round a bed or at a window; in theaters, and like places, a movable screen for concealing the stage.

2. (Fort.) That part of the rampart and parapet which is between two bastions or two gates. See Illustrations of Ravelin and Bastion .

3. (Architecture) That part of a wall of a building which is between two pavilions, towers, etc.

4. A flag; an ensign; -- in contempt. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Behind the curtain , in concealment; in secret. -- Curtain lecture , a querulous lecture given by a wife to her husband within the bed curtains, or in bed. Jerrold.

A curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long- suffering.
W. Irving.

-- The curtain falls , the performance closes. -- The curtain rises , the performance begins. -- To draw the curtain , to close it over an object, or to remove it ; hence: (a) To hide or to disclose an object. (b) To commence or close a performance. -- To drop the curtain , to end the tale, or close the performance.

Curtain transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Curtained (-t?nd; 48); present participle & verbal noun Curtaining .] To inclose as with curtains; to furnish with curtains.

So when the sun in bed
Curtained with cloudy red.
Milton.

Curtal adjective [ Old French courtault , French courtaud , having a docked tail (cf. Italian cortaldo ), from court short, Latin curtus . See Curt , and Curtail .] Curt; brief; laconic.

Essays and curtal aphorisms.
Milton.

Curtal dog . See Curtail dog .

Curtal noun A horse with a docked tail; hence, anything cut short. [ Obs] Nares.

Curtal ax (?ks`), Cur"tle ax` Curte"lasse (k?rt"l as ) . A corruption of Cutlass .

Curtal friar (fr?`?r). A friar who acted as porter at the gate of a monastery. Sir W. Scott.

Curtana noun The pointless sword carried before English monarchs at their coronation, and emblematically considered as the sword of mercy; -- also called the sword of Edward the Confessor .

Curtate adjective [ Latin curtatus , past participle of curtare to shorten, from curtus . See Curt .] (Astron.) Shortened or reduced; -- said of the distance of a planet from the sun or earth, as measured in the plane of the ecliptic, or the distance from the sun or earth to that point where a perpendicular, let fall from the planet upon the plane of the ecliptic, meets the ecliptic.

Curtate cycloid . (Math.) See Cycloid .

Curtation noun (Astron.) The interval by which the curtate distance of a planet is less than the true distance.

Curtein noun Same as Curtana .

Curtes adjective Courteous. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Curtesy noun ; plural Curtesies (-s...z). [ Either from courlesy , the lands being held as it were by favor; or from court (LL. curtis ), the husband being regarded as holding the lands as a vassal of the court. See Court , Courtesy .] (Law) the life estate which a husband has in the lands of his deceased wife, which by the common law takes effect where he has had issue by her, born alive, and capable of inheriting the lands. Mozley & W.

Curtilage (k...r"t...-l...j) noun [ Old French cortillage , curtillage , from cortil court, courtyard, Late Latin cortis court. See Court .] (Law) A yard, courtyard, or piece of ground, included within the fence surrounding a dwelling house. Burrill.

Curtly (kûrt"lȳ) adverb In a curt manner.

Curtness noun The quality of bing curt.

Curtsy (kûrt"sȳ) noun Same as Courtesy , an act of respect.

Curule (kū"rul) adjective [ Latin curulis , from currus a chariot: confer French curule .]
1. Of or pertaining to a chariot.

2. (Rom. Antiq.) Of or pertaining to a kind of chair appropriated to Roman magistrates and dignitaries; pertaining to, having, or conferring, the right to sit in the curule chair; hence, official.

» The curule chair was usually shaped like a camp stool, and provided with curved legs. It was at first ornamented with ivory, and later sometimes made of ivory and inlaid with gold.

Curule dignity right of sitting in the curule chair.

Cururo noun [ Chilian name.] (Zoology) A Chilian burrowing rodent of the genus Spalacopus .

Curval (k?r"v a l), Cur"vant (- v a nt) , adjective [ Latin curvans , present participle ] (Her.) Bowed; bent; curved.

Curvate adjective [ Latin curvatus past participle of curvare to curve, from curvus . See Curve .] Bent in a regular form; curved.

Curvation noun [ Latin curvatio .] The act of bending or crooking.

Curvative adjective (Botany) Having the margins only a little curved; -- said of leaves. Henslow.

Curvature noun [ Latin curvatura . See Curvate .]
1. The act of curving, or the state of being bent or curved; a curving or bending, normal or abnormal, as of a line or surface from a rectilinear direction; a bend; a curve. Cowper.

The elegant curvature of their fronds.
Darwin.

2. (Math.) The amount of degree of bending of a mathematical curve, or the tendency at any point to depart from a tangent drawn to the curve at that point.

Aberrancy of curvature (Geom.) , the deviation of a curve from a circular form. -- Absolute curvature . See under Absolute . -- Angle of curvature (Geom.) , one that expresses the amount of curvature of a curve. -- Chord of curvature . See under Chord . -- Circle of curvature . See Osculating circle of a curve , under Circle . -- Curvature of the spine (Medicine) , an abnormal curving of the spine, especially in a lateral direction. -- Radius of curvature , the radius of the circle of curvature, or osculatory circle, at any point of a curve.

Curve (kûrv) adjective [ Latin curvus bent, curved. See Cirb .] Bent without angles; crooked; curved; as, a curve line; a curve surface.

Curve noun [ See Curve , adjective , Cirb .]
1. A bending without angles; that which is bent; a flexure; as, a curve in a railway or canal.

2. (Geom.) A line described according to some low, and having no finite portion of it a straight line.

Axis of a curve . See under Axis . -- Curve of quickest descent . See Brachystochrone . -- Curve tracing (Math.) , the process of determining the shape, location, singular points, and other peculiarities of a curve from its equation. -- Plane curve (Geom.) , a curve such that when a plane passes through three points of the curve, it passes through all the other points of the curve. Any other curve is called a curve of double curvature , or a twisted curve .

Curve transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Curved (k?rvd); present participle & verbal noun Curving .] [ Latin curvare ., from curvus . See Curve , adjective , Curb .] To bend; to crook; as, to curve a line; to curve a pipe; to cause to swerve from a straight course; as, to curve a ball in pitching it.

Curve intransitive verb To bend or turn gradually from a given direction; as, the road curves to the right.

Curvedness noun The state of being curved.

Curvet noun [ Middle English corvet , Italian corvetta : confer French courbette . See Curve , and confer Corvetto .]
1. (Man.) A particular leap of a horse, when he raises both his fore legs at once, equally advanced, and, as his fore legs are falling, raises his hind legs, so that all his legs are in the air at once.

2. A prank; a frolic.

Curvet intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Curveted or -vetted ; present participle & verbal noun Curveting or -vetting .] [ Confer Italian corvettare . See Curvet , noun ]
1. To make a curvet; to leap; to bound. "Oft and high he did curvet ." Drayton.

2. To leap and frisk; to frolic. Shak.

Curvet transitive verb To cause to curvet. Landor.

Curvicaudate adjective [ Latin curvus bent + English caudate .] (Zoology) Having a curved or crooked tail.

Curvicostate adjective [ Latin curvus + English costate .] (Botany) Having bent ribs.

Curvidentate adjective [ Latin curvus + English dentate .] Having curved teeth.

Curviform adjective [ Latin curvus + -form .] Having a curved form.

Curvilinead noun (Geom.) An instrument for drawing curved lines.

Curvilineal adjective [ Latin curvus bent + English lineal , linear .] Consisting of, or bounded by, curved lines; as, a curvilinear figure.

Curvilinearity noun The state of being curvilinear or of being bounded by curved lines.

Curvilinearly adverb In a curvilinear manner.

Curvinerved adjective [ Latin curvus bent + English nerve . ] (Botany) Having the ribs or the veins of the leaves curved; -- called also curvinervate and curve-veined .

Curvirostral adjective [ Latin curvus + English rostral .] (Zoology) Having a crooked beak, as the crossbill.

Curvirostres noun plural [ New Latin , from Latin curvus curved + rostrum beak, rostrum.] (Zoology) A group of passerine birds, including the creepers and nuthatches.

Curviserial adjective [ Latin curvus bent + English serial .] (Botany) Distributed in a curved line, as leaves along a stem.

Curvity noun [ Latin curvitas , from curvus bent: confer French curvité .] The state of being curved; a bending in a regular form; crookedness. Holder.

Curvograph noun [ Latin curvus bent + -graph .] (Geom.) An arcograph.

Cuscus noun [ The same word as Couscous , from French couscous couscous, Arabic kuskus .] (Botany) A soft grass ( Pennisetum typhoideum ) found in all tropical regions, used as food for men and cattle in Central Africa.

Cuscus oil Same as Vetiver oil .

Cushat noun [ Anglo-Saxon cusceote .] (Zoology) The ringdove or wood pigeon.

Scarce with cushat's homely song can vie.
Sir W. Scott.

Cushewbird noun (Zoöl) The galeated curassow. See Curassow .

Cushion noun [ Middle English cuischun , quisshen , Old French coissin , cuissin , F. coussin , from (assumed) Late Latin culcitinum , dim. of Latin culcita cushion, mattress, pillow. See Quilt , and confer Counterpoint a coverlet .]
1. A case or bag stuffed with some soft and elastic material, and used to sit or recline upon; a soft pillow or pad.

Two cushions stuffed with straw, the seat to raise.
Dryden.

2. Anything resembling a cushion in properties or use ; as: (a) a pad on which gilders cut gold leaf ; (b) a mass of steam in the end of the cylinder of a steam engine to receive the impact of the piston ; (c) the elastic edge of a billiard table.

3. A riotous kind of dance, formerly common at weddings; -- called also cushion dance . Halliwell.

Cushion capital . (Architecture) A capital so sculptured as to appear like a cushion pressed down by the weight of its entablature. (b) A name given to a form of capital, much used in the Romanesque style, modeled like a bowl, the upper part of which is cut away on four sides, leaving vertical faces. -- Cushion star (Zoology) a pentagonal starfish belonging to Goniaster , Astrogonium , and other allied genera; -- so called from its form.

Cushion transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Cushioned (-?nd); present participle & vb. Cushioning .]
1. To seat or place on, or as on a cushion.

Many who are cushioned on thrones would have remained in obscurity.
Bolingbroke.

2. To furnish with cushions; as, to cushion a chaise.

3. To conceal or cover up, as under a cushion.

Cushioned hammer , a dead-stroke hammer. See under Dead-stroke .