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When I translate the 'curb' to my native language it translates to the verb similar to the word 'bridle'. But I can't understand whether the noun 'curb' has the meaning of 'bridle' in English or not.

So that's basically my question

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  • What is the sense of the word that you're trying to translate? In the US, the word is mostly used to refer to the raised edge of a road.
    – Barmar
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:36

2 Answers 2

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Merriam-webster gives one sense of "curb" as:

(2b) a bit that exerts severe pressure on a horse's jaws;
also : the chain or strap attached to it (See the illustration at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bit#art)

A "curb" so defined is not the same thing as a bridle, but is a related piece of equipment used with a horse. The term "curb-bit" is, I believe, sometimes used for this piece of equipment.

Some sources indicate that a "curb" (inn this sense) is part of a bit (or can be) and that a bit is or can be part of a bridle.

There are several other senses of "curb" that have little relation to this sense in current usage, although there is a relation in origin.

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    In the UK, 'curb' is typically a verb meaning 'limit or restrain', or a noun meaning 'a limit to something that is not wanted'. In the UK, also, the raised edge of a pavement or path is known as a 'kerb'. In American English, I believe, the spelling 'curb' is correct for all these. Feb 9, 2023 at 18:38
  • @Michael Harvey all those senses and some others are correct, but none of them are, I think, highly relevant to this question, Because in both the UK and the US, "curb" can refer to a piece of equipment used on a horse. The connection is, I gather. that this equipment is used to restrain the horse. That sense of "restrain", I think, ultimately connects the other senses of this word. Feb 9, 2023 at 19:55
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    It was just a spelling note in case anyone had wondered about the edges of pavements/sidewalks. Feb 9, 2023 at 20:18
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No, they're not synonymous in general use

The Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus lists "curb" as a synonym for the archaic noun "bridle":

archaic put a bridle on your tongue: CURB, check, restraint, control.

A curb bit (also called just a "curb") is also a part found in some bridles. While many people know what a bridle is, the word curb in this context is very niche and specialized. I would expect only people who are intimately familiar with horse accessories to know what it is (though it's included in my general-purpose dictionary, which means it's not entirely obscure).

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  • I have encountered mentions of curbs and curb-bits as part of the equipment of a horse in novels, particularly historical novels, and fantasy fiction that deals with horses and their equipment, as well as some non-fiction works. Thus I know the word in that sense, even though I have never had much to do with horses in person. Feb 9, 2023 at 20:00
  • @DavidSiegel I did a little volunteer work with horses and I never encountered it.
    – Laurel
    Feb 9, 2023 at 20:11
  • I think, but I am not sure, that most of the places I encountered the term were dealing with cavalry horses, and with methods no longer in current use. Feb 9, 2023 at 20:18
  • Noting the point made by others, what happens if you ask for the translation of "kerb"? Feb 10, 2023 at 10:25

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