- iron curtainThe phrase had its origin in the 18c with reference to a safety device lowered in theatres between the stage and the auditorium. Its figurative use referring to any impenetrable barrier evolved in the early 19c and it acquired its classic meaning in the 20c when used of the East-European sphere of influence exercised in the postwar years by the Soviet Union. The locus classicus (though not the first use, which was in 1920) was a speech given by Winston Churchill in the US in 1946: From Stettin, in the Baltic, to Trieste, in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Although the term has developed various allusive uses
• (I don't want the United States to appear like an ‘Iron Curtain’ to the Vietnamese —Freedomways, 1967)the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union caused it to lose its potency except as a vivid historical reminder.
Modern English usage. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
Iron Curtain — n the Iron Curtain the name that was used for the border between the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the rest of Europe … Dictionary of contemporary English
Iron Curtain — ► NOUN (the Iron Curtain) ▪ a notional barrier separating the former Soviet bloc and the West prior to the decline of communism in eastern Europe in 1989 … English terms dictionary
Iron Curtain — in reference to the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, famously coined by Winston Churchill March 5, 1946, in speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, but it had been used earlier in this context (e.g. by U.S. bureaucrat Allen W. Dulles … Etymology dictionary
iron curtain — n. [prob. calque of Ger eiserner vorhang, as used by Joseph Goebbels: popularized by Sir Winston Churchill in a speech (1946)] 1. [often I C ] a barrier of secrecy and censorship regarded as isolating the Soviet Union and other countries in its… … English World dictionary
Iron Curtain — The Iron Curtain was the symbolic, ideological, and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War, roughly 1945 to 1991. At both sides of the Iron Curtain, the states… … Wikipedia
iron curtain — 1. (sometimes caps.) a barrier to understanding and the exchange of information and ideas created by ideological, political, and military hostility of one country toward another, esp. such a barrier between the Soviet Union and its allies and… … Universalium
Iron Curtain — 1) N PROPER: the N People referred to the border that separated the Soviet Union and the communist countries of Eastern Europe from the Western European countries as the Iron Curtain. The collapse of the Iron Curtain had immediate impact on the… … English dictionary
Iron Curtain — Following the end of World War II, there was growing fear concerning the domination of Eastern European countries by the Soviet Union (USSR). Speaking in Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March 1946, British prime minister Winston Churchill warned of the … Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era
iron curtain — noun Date: 1819 1. an impenetrable barrier < the iron curtain between the ego and the unconscious C. J. Rolo > 2. a political, military, and ideological barrier that cuts off and isolates an area; specifically often capitalized one formerly… … New Collegiate Dictionary
Iron Curtain — noun (the Iron Curtain) a notional barrier separating the former Soviet bloc and the West prior to the decline of communism in eastern Europe in 1989 … English new terms dictionary