Definition of curfew in English:


See synonyms for curfew on

Translate curfew into Spanish


  • 1A regulation requiring people to remain indoors between specified hours, typically at night.

    ‘a dusk-to-dawn curfew’
    • ‘the whole area was immediately placed under curfew’
    • ‘The lists of candidates, their names and manifestos, were all but invisible and a strict curfew was imposed.’
    • ‘All exits from the city were totally blocked from the morning and an indefinite curfew was imposed from 6pm.’
    • ‘As with many parks around the city, a midnight curfew is imposed.’
    • ‘We saw them lifting an overnight curfew that had been in place also since April when the old regime fell.’
    • ‘Police are also patrolling the city and have slapped a night-time curfew on the city.’
    • ‘He was given a conditional sentence, which avoids jail time, but enforces daily curfews in his home.’
    • ‘Youth justices put him under a three-month nightly curfew and on a nine-month supervision order aimed at tackling his alcoholism.’
    • ‘Police introduced an overnight curfew on Thursday in Colombo and have tightened security measures throughout city.’
    • ‘Today it is still heavily guarded, with numerous checkpoints and a nighttime curfew.’
    • ‘He took full 24 hours before doing so and clamping curfew in some areas.’
    • ‘He was posted in the marketplace area of the city, enforcing the curfew.’
    • ‘He enforced strict rules: a nightly curfew and a mandate to earn top grades in high school.’
    • ‘Together they agree to break the curfew to show me how people are coping.’
    • ‘Ever since I broke curfew, I showed no promise of learning my lesson.’
    • ‘There was an overnight curfew and a requirement to report twice a day to the authorities.’
    • ‘All she needed was a midnight curfew and glass slippers and she would be set.’
    • ‘The standoff ceased with the advent of the midnight curfew.’
    • ‘They arrested something like 300 people last night for curfew violations.’
    • ‘He gets half way across town before the cop patrolling his neighborhood pulls him over for curfew violation.’
    • ‘There is normally a 7pm - 7am curfew and prisoners are monitored with an electronic tagging device.’
    1. 1.1The hour designated as the beginning of a curfew.
      ‘to be out after curfew without permission was to risk punishment’
      • ‘The camp compensated by making a later curfew for those on time off.’
      • ‘He walks further until one o'clock in the morning (past the curfew for apprentices) and ends up in the graveyard in Copp's Hill.’
      • ‘My curfew was usually midnight, but not for dates.’
      • ‘When Mom and Dad are home, our curfew is midnight.’
      • ‘Your curfew is at midnight unless otherwise noted.’
      • ‘Her parents had given her a curfew of midnight, so she had heaps of time.’
      • ‘It was past my curfew and I could tell that I looked panicked because of the face Jake was making.’
      • ‘You remember the feeling: You had a midnight curfew, but your friends were free to roam wild until dawn.’
      • ‘By that time, the male was already at his home, having managed to cook up an excuse for breaking the midnight curfew.’
      • ‘Do you remember how mad they were when we were an hour past curfew last year?’
      • ‘The neighbours, he recalls, allowed him to play until a daily curfew of 10 pm.’
      • ‘And even if I returned past the curfew, my parents didn't mind too much.’
      • ‘‘Yes,’ he said softly, nuzzling the back of her neck as the final bell rang in the distance, marking curfew.’
      • ‘He had regained her trust the night before, after telling her of numerous time that she had let him back into the boarding house when he had returned after curfew.’
    2. 1.2A daily signal indicating the start of curfew.
      ‘they had to return before the curfew sounded’
      • ‘It wasn't long until the curfew bang sounded and we were shuffled out once again.’
      • ‘The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell.’



/ˈkərˌfyo͞o/ /ˈkərˌfju/


Middle English (denoting a regulation requiring people to extinguish fires at a fixed hour in the evening, or a bell rung at that hour): from Old French cuevrefeu, from cuvrir ‘to cover’ + feu ‘fire’. The current sense dates from the late 19th century.