curtain

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bring down the curtain (on something)

1. To bring a performance or act of a play to an end by lowering the theater curtain. The audience gave a standing ovation as they brought down the curtain. The theater company will bring down the curtain on their award-winning play for the last time this Friday.
2. To bring about or signal the end of something. Following the announcement, the company will bring down the curtain on over 50 years of business.
See also: bring, curtain, down

curtain raiser

1. A short play or skit that precedes the main performance. I have always wanted to be a stage actor, but I've only been cast in a few tiny curtain raisers so far, playing to mostly empty theaters.
2. By extension, any event or performance that precedes the main attraction. Some local singer performed a few songs as a curtain raiser, but no one really paid him much attention until he finally announced the band was about to come on stage. The curtain-raiser match between the two university teams proved far more exciting than the professional football match that everyone had paid to see.
See also: curtain, raiser

draw the curtain on (something)

1. To cease doing something; to bring something to an end. No one is coming to the party; let's just draw a curtain on it and go home. The senator, now 83, draws a curtain this Friday on her illustrious career in politics.
2. To conceal something; to keep something a secret. The police have been accused of drawing a curtain on the officer's alleged involvement with the teenager's murder.
See also: curtain, draw, on

draw the curtain over (something)

1. To cease doing something; to bring something to an end. No one is coming to the party; let's just draw a curtain over it and go home. The senator, now 83, draws a curtain this Friday over her illustrious career in politics.
2. To conceal something; to keep something a secret. The police have been accused of drawing a curtain over the officer's alleged involvement with the teenager's murder.
See also: curtain, draw

iron curtain

1. (usually capitalized) The geographical border and military, political, and ideological barrier established and enforced by the Soviet Union that separated the countries of the Soviet bloc from the rest of Europe from 1945 to 1990. My great-grandfather used to live in East Germany before the Iron Curtain fell, back when the Soviet Union controlled every aspect of day-to-day life.
2. By extension, any barrier that excludes or prevents the free exchange of ideas, information, or communication from or between certain groups. Even though our company is a subsidiary, there seems to exist an iron curtain between our staff and the management of the larger corporation. For all our righteous calls for free speech and freedom of the press, it's important to remember that America had an iron curtain of its own during the Cold War, when even the slightest association with the Communist party was enough to get you blacklisted for life.
See also: curtain, iron

lift the curtain (on something)

1. To begin or commence (something). It's time to lift the curtain on this new project, everyone, so let's not waste any time! After a few delays, the construction crew was finally ready to lift the curtain.
2. To make (something) publicly known; to reveal or disclose the details or truth (about something). In an attempt to head off a public relations disaster regarding his drug use as a college student, the governor decided to lift the curtain at a press conference. I think we had better lift the curtain on our privacy policy if we want consumers to feel secure buying our software.
See also: curtain, lift

curtain lectures

A wife's reprimands to her husband, conducted in private. Honey, you know I hate to give you curtain lectures, but can you please call when you're going to be late, so that our dinner isn't cold?
See also: curtain, lecture

bring down the curtain

(on something) Go to ring down the curtain (on something).
See also: bring, curtain, down

curtain something off

to separate something or some place with a drape, screen, or curtain. We curtained this part of the room off, so please sleep over there. We will curtain off part of the room.
See also: curtain, off

curtains for someone or something

the death, end, or ruin of someone or something. (From the lowering or closing of the curtains at the end of a stage performance.) If the car hadn't swerved, it would have been curtains for the pedestrians. If they can't get into the export market, it's curtains for the whole company.
See also: curtain

ring the curtain down

 (on something) and bring the curtain down (on something)
1. Fig. to lower a theater curtain, usually at the end of an act or a play. (More literal than .) After one hundred performances, it's time to ring the curtain down on our show for the last time. As we bring down the curtain on another successful performance, let's be thankful nothing serious went wrong.
2. Fig. to bring something to an end; to declare something to be at an end. It's time to ring the curtain down on our relationship. We have nothing in common anymore. We've tried our best to make this company a success, but it's time to ring down the curtain.
See also: curtain, down, ring

ring the curtain up

 
1. Fig. to raise the curtain in a theater. (Alludes to sending the signal to raise the curtain.) The stagehand rang the curtain up precisely on time. Let's ring up the curtain. It's time to start the show.
2. Fig. to start a series of activities or events. I am set to ring up the curtain on a new lifestyle. It's a little late to ring up the curtain for anew career.
See also: curtain, ring, up

the curtain falls (on something)

also somebody/something rings down the curtain on something
the end comes to something, esp. a job or activity Brown managed to get a lot done before the curtain fell on his political career. This year rings down the curtain on more than 50 years of broadcasts.
Usage notes: also used in the phrase the final curtain falls: His admirers want to honor the singer before the final curtain falls on his career.
Etymology: from the large curtains above the stage in a theater that are brought down at the end of a performance
See also: curtain, fall

the curtain comes down on something

  also the curtain falls on something
if the curtain comes down on something, especially a period of time, it ends
Usage notes: In a theatre the large curtains above the stage are brought down at the end of a performance.
Last night, the curtain came down on 14 years of Tory rule.
See also: come, curtain, down, on

it's curtains

  (informal)
something that you say when you believe something will end or someone will have to stop doing something (usually + for ) If audience figures don't improve, it's curtains for DJ Mike Hamilton.
See also: curtain

the final curtain

the end of something, usually something that has lasted for a long time As the final curtain fell on the longest match in tennis history, Agassi emerged victorious.
See another nail in the coffin, the final straw, have the final word
See also: curtain, final

curtain raiser

Preliminary event, as in This limited attack on the chairman is just a curtain raiser for the concerted effort to oust him . This term literally refers to a short play or skit presented before the main theatrical production. It began to be transferred to other preliminaries about 1940.
See also: curtain, raiser

curtains for, be.

Also, it's curtains. Be the end, especially death. For example, If he hadn't worn a bullet-proof vest, it would have been curtains for him, or It's curtains if she doesn't finish on time. This expression is a metaphor for the falling curtain signifying the end of a performance. [Slang; c. 1900]
See also: curtain

draw the curtain

1. Pull a curtain back or to one side to let in more light or to discover what is behind it. For example, The sun was so pleasant I drew the curtains. [c. 1500]
2. Block or conceal something. For example, Let's draw the curtain over this matter; no one needs to know more. [c. 1500] Also see draw a veil.
See also: curtain, draw

raise the curtain

Also, lift the curtain.
1. Begin or start, as in It's time to raise the curtain, guys-start shoveling.
2. Make something public, disclose. In this sense, both terms often occur with on, as in We won't know what the new design is until they lift the curtain on it. Both usages, from the mid-1700s, allude to the curtain raised at the beginning of a theatrical performance, revealing the stage.
See also: curtain, raise

ring down the curtain on

Bring something to an end, as in We'd best get to that grand old hotel before they ring down the curtain on it. This idiom alludes to the old practice of signaling that a theater curtain be lowered at the ring of a bell. Similarly, ring up the curtain on refers to a bell rung to begin a performance and came to mean starting anything, as in Their contribution rang up the curtain on the fund drive. The figurative use of these terms dates from the early 1900s.
See also: curtain, down, on, ring

curtains

n. death. (Underworld.) Okay, Marlowe, this time it’s curtains.
See also: curtain

ring down the curtain

To end a performance, event, or action.
See also: curtain, down, ring

ring up the curtain

To begin a performance, event, or action.
See also: curtain, ring, up

curtain lecture

A reprimand that a wife gives her husband. “Curtain” refers to the drapery on canopied beds; the image is that of a wife giving hubby a piece of her mind in the privacy of their bedroom.
See also: curtain, lecture
References in classic literature ?
While a row of luxurious arm-chairs, in the main thoroughfare of the room, invited the reader of solid literature to reveal himself in the act of cultivating a virtue, a row of snug little curtained recesses, opening at intervals out of one of the walls, enabled the reader of light literature to conceal himself in the act of indulging a vice.
Below the main floor, or stage, was the curtained dressing-room of the actors; and when the play required, on one side was attached 'Hell-Mouth,' a great and horrible human head, whence issued flames and fiendish cries, often the fiends themselves, and into which lost sinners were violently hurled.
Leaving her husband and her stepdaughters to entertain Sir Joseph and Miss Lavinia, Lady Winwood took Natalie into her own boudoir, which communicated by a curtained opening with the drawing-room.
Lady Winwood pointed through the curtained entrance of the boudoir to the door of the drawing-room.
The bad game of drifting clouds, of damp melancholy, of curtained heavens, of stolen suns, of howling autumn-winds,
Then he stood for a few moments in front of the curtained window.
The inner door, a grating, was shut and bolted, and curtained like the open porthole.
The Prince pointed to a small round table at the farther end of the apartment, half screened off by a curtained recess.
He remembered all the streets--the well-to-do streets he had passed on his way home; all the innumerable houses with closed doors and curtained windows.
If he had had any sense of what he had done that night, and had been less of a whelp and more of a brother, he might have turned short on the road, might have gone down to the ill-smelling river that was dyed black, might have gone to bed in it for good and all, and have curtained his head for ever with its filthy waters.
Fagin drew him behind a small partition which was curtained off, and they held their breaths as she passed within a few feet of their place of concealment, and emerged by the door at which they had entered.