Etymology
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curtail (v.)

late 15c., "restrict or limit," a word based on Old French courtault "made short," from court "short" (Old French cort, from Latin curtus, from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut") + -ault, a pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. From 1550s as "cut short, cut off the end of." General sense of "deprive by excision or removal" is from 1580s.

The spelling in English perhaps is influenced by Middle English taillen "to cut," from Old French tailler (see tailor (n.)), and tail (n.) in reference to horses with docked tails.  Compare curtal, which is the form retained in poetics to describe a "shortened" stanza or poem. Related: Curtailed; curtailing; curtailment.

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Definitions of curtail

curtail (v.)
place restrictions on;
curtail drinking in school
Synonyms: restrict / curb / cut back
curtail (v.)
terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end or its full extent;
Personal freedom is curtailed in many countries
Synonyms: clip / cut short
From wordnet.princeton.edu