American English

Definition of curtain noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a piece of cloth that is hung to cover a window to draw/pull/close the curtains (= to pull them across the window so they cover it) to draw/draw back/pull back the curtains (= to open them, so that the window is no longer covered) It was ten in the morning but the curtains were still drawn (= closed). a pair of curtains see also drape
  2. 2[countable] a very thin piece of cloth that you hang at a window, that allows light to enter but stops people outside from being able to see inside
  3. 3[countable] a piece of cloth that is hung up as a screen in a room or around a bed, for example a shower curtain
  4. 4[singular] a piece of thick, heavy cloth that hangs in front of the stage in the theater The audience was waiting for the curtain to rise (= for the play to begin). There was tremendous applause when the curtain came down (= the play ended). We left just before the final curtain. (figurative) The curtain has fallen on her long and distinguished career (= her career has ended). (figurative) It's time to face the final curtain (= the end; death). see also Iron Curtain
  5. 5[countable, usually singular] a thing that covers, hides, or protects something a curtain of rain/smoke She pushed back the curtain of brown hair from her eyes.
  6. Idioms
    be curtains (for somebody) (informal)
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    to be a situation without hope or that you cannot escape from When I saw he had a gun, I thought it was curtains for me.
    bring down the curtain on something, bring the curtain down on something
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    to finish or mark the end of something His sudden decision to retire brought down the curtain on a distinguished career.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: curtain