SKIP TO CONTENT

curtilage

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
  1. noun
    the enclosed land around a house or other building
    synonyms: grounds, yard
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    backyard
    the grounds in back of a house
    dooryard
    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
    garden
    a yard or lawn adjoining a house
    playground
    yard consisting of an outdoor area for children's play
    side yard
    the grounds at either side of a house
    type of:
    field
    a piece of land cleared of trees and usually enclosed
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week