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
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
He begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock.
The village curfew, as it tolled profound.
2. A utensil for covering the fire. [Obs.]
For pans, pots, curfews, counters and the like.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: the time that the curfew signal is sounded
2: a signal (usually a bell) announcing the start of curfew
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.