ring down the curtain on

ring down the curtain (on something)

1. To bring a performance or act of a play to an end by lowering the theater curtain. The phrase refers to the practice of ringing a bell to signal the lowering of the curtain in the theater. The audience gave the performance a standing ovation as the theater rang down the curtain. The shocking twist at the end of the second act left the audience in stunned silence as the curtain was rung down.
2. To bring about or signal the end of something. The company announced that it will ring down the curtain after nearly 50 years of business. The government is ringing down the curtain on the controversial program next month.
See also: curtain, down, ring

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