curtail (v.) Look up curtail at
late 15c., from Middle French courtault "made short," from court "short" (Old French cort, from Latin curtus; see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling in general use; curtal is retained in poetics to describe a "shortened" stanza or poem. Related: Curtailed; curtailing.