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
  1. verb
    terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end or its full extent
    “Personal freedom is curtailed in many countries”
    synonyms: clip, cut short
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    type of:
    make shorter than originally intended; reduce or retrench in length or duration
  2. verb
    place restrictions on
    synonyms: 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
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