\ ˈkȯrs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of moving in a path from point to point the planets in their courses
2 : the path over which something moves or extends: such as
b(1) : the direction of travel of a vehicle (such 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
3a : 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 the course of history
4 : an ordered process or succession: such as
a : a number of lectures or other matter dealing with a subject took a course in zoology also : a series of such courses constituting a curriculum a premed course
b : a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period
5a : 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
: 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 : following the ordinary way or procedure will be done as a matter of course
2 : as might be expected Of course we will go.


coursed; coursing

Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to follow close upon : pursue
2a : to hunt or pursue (game) with hounds
b : to cause (dogs) to run (as after game)
3 : to run or move swiftly through or over : traverse Jets coursed the area daily.

intransitive verb

: to run or pass rapidly along or as if along an indicated path blood coursing through the veins

Synonyms & Antonyms for course

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of course in a Sentence

Noun the course of a river The pilot brought the plane back on course. The ship was blown off course by a storm. She's taking a chemistry course this semester. Students earn the degree after a two-year course of study. There is no cure, but the treatment will slow the course of the disease. Verb the blood coursing through my veins Tears were coursing down his cheeks. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun He’s based in New York City and lectures as part of Columbia Business School’s course on Bridging the American Divide. John Benjamin, Fortune, 11 Aug. 2022 Leo and Cayla go next, and Leo can barely even jump into the water to start the course. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 11 Aug. 2022 The pictures, released Thursday, added to a growing belief that the blasts may be the result of Ukrainian attacks, suggesting an ability to strike deep behind enemy lines that could help shift the course of the war. Caroline Radnofsky, NBC News, 11 Aug. 2022 These are likely to come fast, so tech leaders who don't relish the challenge and aren't enthused by the cycle of change, adaptation and improvement may not stay the course. Agur Jõgi, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 Throughout the course of the podcast’s creation, the former Demos president traveled across the country with her producers and researchers, to find compelling stories of the solidarity phenomenon. Okla Jones, Essence, 10 Aug. 2022 The dinners are now a full course meal and more than 100 people attend every week. Laura Rodríguez Presa, Chicago Tribune, 10 Aug. 2022 Although major details about the upcoming Urus remain under wraps until then, Lamborghini does reveal a few things about the machine that conquered the storied hill-climb course. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 10 Aug. 2022 For note-taking and accessing course materials from the cloud, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 is a great alternative to toting around a laptop all day. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Smith did his best to go along in describing the Stadium Course, with its island green and deceptive shots, and a centuries-old links course that this week was so brittle and brown the balls rolled faster on the fairways than the greens. Doug Ferguson, Chron, 18 July 2022 Members have to commit to a five-week financial fundamentals course, monthly mentoring circle meetings and other program gatherings. oregonlive, 11 July 2022 Unless the world changes course and drastically cuts the use of fossil fuels, Reed said people should expect progressively worse effects from hurricane season. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 Numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue sheaths course through this area, woven in with arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and nerves. Esther Smith, Outside Online, 8 Aug. 2021 Our current superintendent has supported this fight and has taken steps to course correct. Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 For Selin, a narrator who treats course descriptions as manifestos, this portends a drastic shift in worldview and sensibility. Jennifer Wilson, The Atlantic, 19 Apr. 2022 The Federal Reserve is finally starting to course correct. William J. Luther, National Review, 5 May 2022 When in doubt, err on the side of caution, slow down and course correct. John Hall, Forbes, 1 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of course


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for course


Middle English cours, borrowed from Anglo-French cours, curs, going back to Latin cursus "action of running, charge, movement along a path, progress," from currere "to run, flow" + -tus, suffix of verbal action — more at current entry 1

Note: As pointed out by Michiel de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Leiden, 2008), the expected outcome of the verbal adjective in *-to- and the verbal noun in *-tū- would be *kostus < *korstus < *kr̥s-to-, kr̥s-tū-, from the verbal base *kr̥s- (> currere). The attested form cursus for both the past participle and verbal noun reflects remodeling on the pattern of stems ending in a dental (as morsus from mordere "to bite," versus from vertere "to turn"). As generally in Latin, the verbal noun, where full grade of the root would be expected, has been supplanted by zero grade of the verbal adjective.


Middle English coursen "to pursue," derivative of cours course entry 1

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Time Traveler for course

Time Traveler

The first known use of course was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near course



coursed ashlar

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Statistics for course

Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for course


\ ˈkȯrs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Kids Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : motion from one point to another : progress in space or time The earth makes its course around the sun in 365 days. During the course of a year he meets dozens of people.
2 : the path over which something moves The ship was blown off course.
3 : a natural channel for water A trail follows the river's course.
4 : a way of doing something Choose a course of action.
5 : the ordinary way something happens over time the course of business
6 : a series of acts or proceedings arranged in regular order a course of therapies
7 : a series of classes in a subject a geography course
8 : a part of a meal served separately We ate a three course dinner.
of course
: as might be expected You know, of course, that I like you.


coursed; coursing

Kids Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to run through or over
2 : to move rapidly : race


\ ˈkō(ə)rs, ˈkȯ(ə)rs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Medical Definition of course

1 : the series of events or stages comprising a natural process the course of a disease
2 : a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period a course of three doses daily for five days

More from Merriam-Webster on course

Nglish: Translation of course for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of course for Arabic Speakers


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