Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The word curb comes to us through French from the Latin curvus, bent or crooked. Consequently, many of the meanings that evolved for this word involve the idea of encircling, bordering, arching, or confining. Let’s look at some of them.

• a chain or strap passing under the lower jaw of a horse, then fastened to a bit in order to control the animal.

• anything that restrains or holds in check.

• a hard swelling on the hock of a horse’s leg.

• a curve or an arc.

• a template to mark out curved work.

• an enclosing framework.

• a frame around the top of a well that supports the cover.

• an opening in a floor or roof to support a trapdoor or a skylight.

• a cylindrical ring around the edge of a circular structure.

• a ring forming the base on which the brickwork of a shaft or well is built.

• a raised margin around a garden bed.

• stone or cement protection for the outer rim of a sidewalk that separates it from the roadway.

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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