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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (3)

1. the time that the curfew signal is sounded;

2. a signal (usually a bell) announcing the start of curfew restrictions;

3. an order that after a specific time certain activities (as being outside on the streets) are prohibited;


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Curfew \Cur"few\ (k[^u]r"f[=u]), n. [OE. courfew, curfu, fr. OF. cuevrefu, covrefeu, F. couvre-feu; covrir to cover + feu fire, fr. L. focus fireplace, hearth. See Cover, and Focus.] 1. The ringing of an evening bell, originally a signal to the inhabitants to cover fires, extinguish lights, and retire to rest, -- instituted by William the Conqueror; also, the bell itself. [1913 Webster] He begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock. --Shak. [1913 Webster] The village curfew, as it tolled profound. --Campbell. [1913 Webster] 2. A utensil for covering the fire. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] For pans, pots, curfews, counters and the like. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

curfew n 1: the time that the curfew signal is sounded 2: a signal (usually a bell) announcing the start of curfew restrictions 3: an order that after a specific time certain activities (as being outside on the streets) are prohibited
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

CURFEW. The name of a law, established during the reign of the English king, William, the conqueror, by which the people were commanded to dispense with fire and candle at eight o'clock at night. It was abolished in the reign of Henry I., but afterwards it signified the time at which the curfew formerly took place. The word curfew is derived, probably, from couvre few, or cover fire. 4 Bl. Com. 419, 420.