1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Curtilage

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CURTILAGE (Med. Lat. curtilagium, from curtile or cortile, a court or yard, cf. “court”), the area of land which immediately surrounds a dwelling-house and its yard and outbuildings. In feudal times every castle with its dependent buildings was protected by a surrounding wall, and all the land within the wall was termed the curtilage; but the modern legal interpretation of the word, i.e. what area is enclosed by the curtilage, depends upon the circumstances of each individual case, such as the terms of the grant or deed which passes the property, or upon what is held to be a convenient amount of land for the occupation of the house, &c. The importance of the word in modern law depends on the fact that the curtilage marks the limit of the premises in which housebreaking can be committed.