verb (used with object)

  1. to cut short; cut off a part of; abridge; reduce; diminish.


  1. (tr) to cut short; abridge

v.late 15c., from Middle French courtault “made short,” from court “short” (Old French cort, from Latin curtus; see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling. Related: Curtailed; curtailing.

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