ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,


curtilage (kûrtl-j), noun.  The area immediately surrounding a house or dwelling.

Curtilage is "the area to which extends the intimate activity associated with the 'sanctity of a man's home, and the privacies of life'" (Boyd v. United States, 1886).  It is not necessarily enclosed by a fence.  As a legal term, it's relevant for Fourth Amendment questions:  a warrant and probable cause are needed to seize items in the curtilage.  For example, trash left in the curtilage (not publicly accessible but where trash collectors are allowed to enter) is not considered abandoned; trash left outside the curtilage is considered abandoned and may be seized by police without a warrant. 

In general, a locked gate and a 'no trespassing' sign do not make an open field part of the curtilage.

In use since the early 1300s, from Old French 'courtillage' (courtyard).

Tags: c, noun, old french, wordsmith: ersatz_read

  • Wednesday Word: Frustum

    Frustum - noun. Another lovely and unique word from the math and science world. Simply put, a frustum (plural frusta or frustums is a cone or…

  • Sunday Word: Voluptuary

    voluptuary [v uh- luhp-choo-er-ee] noun: a person whose life is devoted to luxury and sensual pleasures adjective: of, relating to, or…

  • Wednesday Word: Alla prima

    Alla prima - noun. If you want to sound sophisticated at an artsy gathering, you may want to brush up on (no pun intended) alla prima works such…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded