To curtail something is to slow it down, put restrictions on it, or stop it entirely. If I give up cake, I am curtailing my cake-eating.

Curtail is an official-sounding word for stopping or slowing things down. The police try to curtail crime — they want there to be less crime in the world. A company may want to curtail their employees' computer time, so they spend more time working and less time goofing around. Teachers try to curtail whispering and note-passing in class. When something is curtailed, it's either stopped entirely or stopped quite a bit — it's cut short.

Definitions of curtail

v terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end or its full extent

“Personal freedom is curtailed in many countries”
clip, cut short
Type of:
make shorter than originally intended; reduce or retrench in length or duration

v place restrictions on

curtail drinking in school”
curb, cut back, restrict
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lessen, diminish, or curtail
immobilise, immobilize
cause to be unable to move
paralyse, paralyze
cause to be paralyzed and immobile
stun, stupefy
make senseless or dizzy by or as if by a blow
Type of:
circumscribe, confine, limit
restrict or confine, "I limit you to two visits to the pub a day"