Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈkȯrs\

Simple Definition of course

  • : the path or direction that something or someone moves along

  • : a path or route that runners, skiers, bikers, etc., move along especially in a race

  • : a series of classes about a particular subject in a school

Full Definition of course

  1. 1 :  the act or action of moving in a path from point to point

  2. 2 :  the path over which something moves or extends: as a :  racecourse b (1) :  the direction of travel of a vehicle (as a ship or airplane) usually measured as a clockwise angle from north; also :  the projected path of travel (2) :  a point of the compass c :  watercourse d :  golf course

  3. 3 a :  accustomed procedure or normal action <the law taking its course> b :  a chosen manner of conducting oneself :  way of acting <our wisest course is to retreat> c (1) :  progression through a development or period or a series of acts or events (2) :  life history, career

  4. 4 :  an ordered process or succession: as a :  a number of lectures or other matter dealing with a subject; also :  a series of such courses constituting a curriculum <a premed course> b :  a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period

  5. 5 a :  a part of a meal served at one time <the main course> b :  layer; especially :  a continuous level range of brick or masonry throughout a wall c :  the lowest sail on a square-rigged mast

in due course
  1. :  after a normal passage of time :  in the expected or allotted time <his discoveries led in due course to new forms of treatment>

of course
  1. 1 :  following the ordinary way or procedure <will be done as a matter of course>

  2. 2 :  as might be expected <of course we will go>

Examples of course

  1. the course of a river

  2. The pilot brought the plane back on course.

  3. The ship was blown off course by a storm.

  4. She's taking a chemistry course this semester.

  5. Students earn the degree after a two-year course of study.

  6. There is no cure, but the treatment will slow the course of the disease.

Origin of course

Middle English, from Anglo-French curs, course, from Latin cursus, from currere to run — more at car

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with course




Simple Definition of course

  • : to move or flow quickly

Full Definition of course


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to follow close upon :  pursue

  3. 2 a :  to hunt or pursue (game) with hounds b :  to cause (dogs) to run (as after game)

  4. 3 :  to run or move swiftly through or over :  traverse <jets coursed the area daily>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to run or pass rapidly along or as if along an indicated path <blood coursing through the veins>

Examples of course

  1. the blood coursing through my veins

  2. Tears were coursing down his cheeks.

15th Century

First Known Use of course

15th century

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈkō(ə)rs, ˈkȯ(ə)rs\

Medical Definition of course

  1. 1:  the series of events or stages comprising a natural process <the course of a disease>

  2. 2:  a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period <a course of three doses daily for five days>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up course? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet spindrift pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.