adjective \ ˈkȯrs \
Updated on: 13 Mar 2018

Definition of coarse

coarser; coarsest
1 : of ordinary or inferior quality or value : common
  • of what coarse metal ye are molded
  • —Shakespeare
2 a (1) : composed of relatively large parts or particles
  • coarse sand
(2) : loose or rough in texture
  • coarse cloth
b : adjusted or designed for heavy, fast, or less delicate work
  • a coarse saw with large teeth
c : not precise or detailed with respect to adjustment or discrimination
  • filled in the details of the rather coarse preliminary report
3 : crude or unrefined in taste, manners, or language
4 : harsh, raucous, or rough in tone
5 chiefly British : of or relating to coarse fish
  • coarse fishing





Examples of coarse in a Sentence

  1. He was a man of middle age with coarse, curly gray hair, a dark, pock-marked complexion and protruding, almost batrachian eyes. —Leila HadleyGive Me the World(1958) 1999
  2. He had a heavy face and a shrivelled nose and thick, coarse, bunched up skin. —Paul TherouxGrantaSummer 1994
  3. 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 BoyleThe Road To Wellville1993
  4. Around the throbbing machinery was a frame of coarse wire net. —Ursula K. Le GuinHarper'sAugust 1990
  5. The dog has a thick, coarse coat.

  6. The fabric varies in texture from coarse to fine.

Recent Examples of coarse from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coarse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of coarse

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

COARSE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of coarse for English Language Learners

  • : made up of large pieces : not fine

  • : having a rough quality

  • : rude or offensive

COARSE Defined for Kids


adjective \ ˈkȯrs \

Definition of coarse for Students

coarser; coarsest
1 : having a harsh or rough quality
  • coarse dry skin
  • a coarse fabric
2 : made up of large particles
  • coarse sand
3 : crude in taste, manners, or language
4 : of poor or ordinary quality





Medical Dictionary


adjective \ ˈkō(ə)rs, ˈkȯ(ə)rs \

medical Definition of coarse

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

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