coarser; coarsest
: of ordinary or inferior quality or value : common
of what coarse metal ye are moldedShakespeare
: composed of relatively large parts or particles
coarse sand
: loose or rough in texture
coarse cloth
: adjusted or designed for heavy, fast, or less delicate work
a coarse saw with large teeth
: not precise or detailed with respect to adjustment or discrimination
filled in the details of the rather coarse preliminary report
: crude or unrefined in taste, manners, or language
: harsh, raucous, or rough in tone
chiefly British : of or relating to coarse fish
coarse fishing
coarsely adverb
coarseness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for coarse

coarse, vulgar, gross, obscene, ribald mean offensive to good taste or morals.

coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language.

found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive

vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding.

a loud vulgar belch

gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness.

gross eating habits

obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters.

obscene language not allowed on the air

ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent.

entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

Examples of coarse in a Sentence

He was a man of middle age with coarse, curly gray hair, a dark, pock-marked complexion and protruding, almost batrachian eyes. Leila Hadley, Give Me the World, (1958) 1999
He had a heavy face and a shrivelled nose and thick, coarse, bunched up skin. Paul Theroux, Granta, Summer 1994
She'd always been taught—and she'd felt it instinctively—that sun-braised cheeks, sallow skin and reddened hands were coarse and unsightly, the emblem of the foreigner and the day laborer. T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road To Wellville, 1993
Around the throbbing machinery was a frame of coarse wire net. Ursula K. Le Guin, Harper's, August 1990
The dog has a thick, coarse coat. The fabric varies in texture from coarse to fine. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Celebrity nail artist Queenie Nguyen says that a nail technician will first use a coarse nail file to remove the shiny top layer and roughen up the surface. Audrey Noble, Vogue, 27 Nov. 2023 Keep processing to your taste, pulsing less for a coarse pesto, more for a smooth one. The View, ABC News, 22 Nov. 2023 Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Genevieve Ko, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Nov. 2023 Pulse cranberries until finely chopped with a few coarse pieces. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 16 Oct. 2023 Rub butter into flour mixture using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 3 Nov. 2023 Contains some strong violence, mature thematic material and coarse language. Pat Padua, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 As a nation, their food is heavy, coarse, ill prepared and indigestible. . . . Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 9 Oct. 2023 And while buffing your birthday suit with coarse bristles might sound unappealing and potentially painful, this body care ritual is actually quite gentle (enjoyable, even). Jenn Sinrich, SELF, 22 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coarse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English cors, perhaps from course, noun — see course entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of coarse was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near coarse

Cite this Entry

“Coarse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ˈkō(ə)rs How to pronounce coarse (audio)
coarser; coarsest
: of ordinary or poor quality
: made up of large parts or particles
coarse sand
: being harsh or rough
coarse cloth
: not precise or detailed : roughly approximate
: crude in taste, manners, or language
coarsely adverb
coarseness noun

Medical Definition


: visible to the naked eye or by means of a compound microscope
coarse particles
of a tremor : of wide excursion
a coarse tremor of the extremities
: harsh, raucous, or rough in tone
used of some sounds heard in auscultation in pathological states of the chest
coarse rales

More from Merriam-Webster on coarse

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