Curtains for Someone (or Something)

Also: It’s curtains

This idiom is one of many theatrical idioms such as break a leg or to be in the limelight. In the theater, curtains can refer to the physical drapery or fabric used to conceal all or part of the stage from the audience, or it can refer to the other aspects of the performances such as the beginning or end. When the curtains are raised, the performance or act begins and when they are lowered, the performance ends.

Meaning of Idiom ‘Curtains for Someone (or Something)’

If it is curtains for someone (or something) it is their death, ruin, or end. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.


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Examples Of Use

“If the mechanic hadn’t found the problem with my brakes it may have been curtains for me! I live on a mountain road.”

“If the bullet had entered just an inch to the left it would have been curtains for the officer.”

“If the company is not able to secure new capital, it’s curtains.”

“If I don’t finish this job on time it’s curtains for me. My boss will fire me for sure.”

Origin

Used since the 1900s, this idiom alludes to the curtains coming down on a stage, signifying the end of a performance.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.