V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: to cut something short or reduce the length or duration

Synonyms: reduce, shorten, trim, decrease, abbreviate, abridge, truncate

Antonyms: lengthen, extend

Tips: Curtail comes from the Latin word curtus, "short." In medieval England, it meant "to cut off the long tail of an animal," thus giving it a short tail. Its modern usage implies that something already happening is cut short. Think also of the related word curt, which means "short" or "abbreviated." Curtail often refers to having to cut out something good or enjoyable to make time for serious matters. "You may need to curtail your playtime so you'll have more time for homework." Curtail is related to truncate, condense, abridge, and abbreviate. See a detailed analysis at condense.

Usage Examples:

If you want to finish your work on time, you will have to curtail your social activities. (reduce, decrease)

The new rules are an attempt to curtail the power of the committee, which has been making too many decisions without consulting the people they will affect. (reduce)

Many states have curtailed smoking in public areas by banning smoking in restaurants and bars. (decreased, reduced)

Our vacation was curtailed due to a family emergency. (abbreviated, shortened)

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