The Meaning of Curfew: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of curfew? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word, including its meaning, etymology, example sentences and more!

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What does the word curfew mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word curfew is a noun that refers to the sounding of a bell at the evening. This can also refer to a requirement that someone, usually a child or teenager, has to be home by a particular time. This can also reference the hour of the curfew itself, or a period during which a curfew is in effect. The pronunciation of curfew is ˈkɜːfjuː and the plural is curfews. According to the National Youth Rights Association, curfew can change by state, city, and county. Some counties and cities require youths to be in their homes from 12AM to 5AM, while others are fore more strictly, with a 10PM to sunrise restriction.

Many different languages also contain words that mean curfew. You may notice that some of these words look similar to each other. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages. These are usually formed when two words have the same language of origin or root. This list of translations of curfew is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Romanian: interdicție de ieșire din casă‎ (fem.)
  •  Arabic: مَنْعُ التَّجَوُّل‎ (masc.), حَظْرُ التَّجَوُّل‎ (masc.)
  •  Faroese: útigongubann‎ (neut.), útfaringarbann‎ (neut.)
  •  Persian: حکومت نظامی‎ (hokumat nezâmi)
  •  Czech: zákaz vycházení‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Ausgangssperre‎ (fem.), Sperrstunde‎ (fem.), Polizeistunde‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: godzina policyjna‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 戒厳令‎ (kaigenrei), 外出禁止令‎ (gaishutsu-kinshi-rei), (night time)夜間外出禁止令‎ (yakan-gaishutsu-kinshi-rei)
  •  Norwegian Bokmål: portforbud‎ (neut.)
  •  Maori: rāhui haere pō‎
  •  Dutch: avondklok‎ (fem.), uitgangsverbod‎ (neut.)
  •  Greek: απαγόρευση κυκλοφορίας‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: toc de queda‎ (masc.)
  •  Latvian: policijas stunda‎ (fem.), komandanta stunda‎ (fem.), komandantstunda‎ (fem.)
  •  Norwegian Nynorsk: portforbod‎ (neut.)
  •  Spanish: toque de queda‎
  •  Russian: коменда́нтский час‎ (masc.)
  •  Turkish: sokağa çıkma yasağı‎
  •  French: couvre-feu‎ (masc.)
  •  Bulgarian: полицейски час‎
  •  Armenian: պարետային ժամ‎
  •  Italian: coprifuoco‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: ulkonaliikkumiskielto‎
  •  Esperanto: elirmalpermeso‎
  •  Swedish: utegångsförbud‎ (neut.)
  •  Portuguese: toque de recolher‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: udgangsforbud‎ (neut.)
  •  Estonian: liikumiskeeld‎
  •  Mandarin: 宵禁‎ (xiāojìn), 門禁‎, 门禁‎ (ménjìn)
  •  Vietnamese: lệnh giới nghiêm
  •  Hebrew: עוצר‎
  •  Hungarian: kijárási tilalom‎

What are synonyms for the word curfew?

There are a few words that a person can use in place of the word curfew, though the word itself is quite specific. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as a given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of curfew is provided by Thesaurus. There are no opposite words for curfew,

  •  Limit
  •  Time limit
  •  Check in time

What is the origin of the word curfew?

According to Etymonline, the word curfew has been used since the early 14th century as the Middle English curfew, which referenced a signal bell at a fixed hou meant as a signal to extinguish fires and lights. This comes from the late 13th century Anglo-French coeverfu, from the Old French cuevrefeu, literally meaning “cover fire.” In Modern French, this is written as couvre-feu. This comes from the French cuevre, the imperative of the verb covrir meaning to cover and the root feu meaning fire. The modern meaning of the word has been used since the 1800s.

How can the word curfew be used in a sentence?

The word curfew can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are many examples of curfew.

Despite her top grades and responsibility, the boarding house Willa lived in implemented an early curfew and other strict rules. She could do nothing without her governess’ permission, and the neighbours would snitch if the girls snuck out.

The medieval practice of ringing of a bell signaled the curfew in the marketplace area of the city in feudal Europe. If the public authorities caught someone, they had the promise of punishment.

The au pair was grateful for access to her host family’s home, but the mom implemented mandate after mandate about her curfew, what she was allowed to eat, and where she was allowed to go. If she arrived home past curfew, her guardians forced her to stoke the embers in the hearth for hours.

The high schools implemented a curfew for all the students who lived on campus. William was excited by the midnight curfew, as his curfew at home was ten PM. He and his friends would always make it back just in time for the curfew signal to sound at their building.

The electronic tagging device on the former criminal’s ankle went off if he went out the exits of the home past curfew. When it went off on Thursday after he was gardening past 6 PM, the authorities arrived at his home to give him a talking-to.

Even with a dawn curfew, the young man rarely made it home on time. His parent’s couldn’t understand his disobedience.

Overall, the word curfew means a specific time or set time that is a deadline by which a person must be in their homes – usually dusk, when implemented by a city. It can also refer to the ringing of an evening bell, the start of curfew restrictions or curfew law. This word comes from the Old French covrefeu, French couvre-feu, and Middle English curfeu.


  1. curfew | Origin and meaning of curfew | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  2. curfew: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. CURFEW Synonyms: 3 Synonyms & Antonyms for CURFEW | Thesaurus 
  4. Curfew | Definition of Curfew | Merriam-Webster 
  5. Curfew Laws by State | NYRA