cou·​ri·​er ˈku̇r-ē-ər How to pronounce courier (audio)
: messenger: such as
: a member of a diplomatic (see diplomatic sense 2) service entrusted with bearing messages
: an espionage agent transferring secret information
: a runner of contraband (see contraband sense 2)
drug couriers
: a member of the armed services whose duties include carrying mail, information, or supplies
: a traveler's paid attendant
especially : a tourists' guide employed by a travel agency

Examples of courier in a Sentence

Police recently arrested a drug courier in our neighborhood. A courier just left a package for you on the porch.
Recent Examples on the Web Earlier this month, Khosrowshahi cited strong demand trends and a record 6.5 million active drivers and couriers in the Uber platform who collectively earned nearly $16 billion the third quarter. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2023 Once the firearms are bought by straw purchasers, they are moved across the southern border through brokers and couriers. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 10 Oct. 2023 But their experiences working as couriers for some of Europe’s most popular food delivery platforms have led them to the same conclusion. WIRED, 20 Nov. 2023 Those orders are picked, packed and delivered by a courier working for that particular service. Liz Young, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2023 His study had patients self-collect swabs, which were picked up by courier every three days. Matthew Herper, STAT, 13 Nov. 2023 Ortega ran the drug delivery service via text message and acted as a dispatcher, coordinating deliveries between customers and couriers. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 5 Oct. 2023 For those couriers who use cars, that will mean extra miles traveled, more gas pollution, and more traffic congestion. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 11 Oct. 2023 This latest action follows a series of measures taken this year against members of the Sinaloa cartel, cash couriers, and cartel fraud schemes. Fatima Hussein and Eric Tucker, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Middle French corier, courrier, borrowed from Italian corriere, from correre "to run" (going back to Latin currere) + -iere -ier — more at current entry 1

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of courier was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near courier

Cite this Entry

“Courier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


cou·​ri·​er ˈku̇r-ē-ər How to pronounce courier (audio)
: a messenger especially in the diplomatic service

Middle English courrier "a person who carries (runs) messages from one place to another quickly," from early Italian corriere (same meaning), derived from Latin currere "to run" — related to current

More from Merriam-Webster on courier

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