Curtilage is a fancy legal term for the enclosed land that surrounds a building and belongs with it as part of the same property.

The term comes from the Old French word cortil, meaning a "little court, walled garden or yard." It's an important legal distinction for many reasons: in some American states evidence improperly gathered from the curtilage of a property is considered as inadmissible as that gathered from the property itself. In other cases, a property owner may legally defend himself against home invasion within the curtilage of his property, not just within the building itself. Now you too could have a part on "Law & Order."

Definitions of curtilage

n the enclosed land around a house or other building

grounds, yard
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the grounds in back of a house
a yard outside the front or rear door of a house
front yard
the yard in front of a house; between the house and the street
a yard or lawn adjoining a house
yard consisting of an outdoor area for children's play
side yard
the grounds at either side of a house
Type of:
a piece of land cleared of trees and usually enclosed

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