\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But from the start, the university was beset by conflicts about its course that nine different presidents have been unable to solve. Lindzi Wessel, Science | AAAS, "Troubles escalate at Ecuador’s dream research university," 21 Oct. 2020 Remember, our best-selling course is back to support you with codependency, go to to join us! Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Ant Anstead Shares How He's Been Coping Since Separating From Christina Anstead," 19 Oct. 2020 When cost cutting runs its course by the close of 2021, Gamgort will need to garner much higher revenue growth. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Keurig is a machine: How the beverage giant is leveraging A.I. to fuel growth," 19 Oct. 2020 And the awkward stand-in appointment of Matthew Whitaker had run its course. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "'Riding a tiger': William Barr's politically charged tenure puts DOJ on ballot with Trump," 19 Oct. 2020 Allowing the virus to run its course could lead to thousands of people with long-term health problems, scientists say. Sarah Toy, WSJ, "Scientists Push Back on Herd-Immunity Approach to Covid-19," 18 Oct. 2020 The most recent figures from are 4.38% for new positive cases, and 5.32% for all tests including those previously testing positive and retaking tests as the infection runs its course. Paola Pérez,, "Florida adds over 4,000 new coronavirus cases, 87 more resident deaths," 17 Oct. 2020 Rather than racing through one of the many classic Mario Kart courses, players instead drive through their own course in their home, which is customized with real-life objects that the karts respond to accordingly. Nina Huang,, "Nintendo just released Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit game with augmented reality," 16 Oct. 2020 Carroll County also took into consideration students at the Career and Technology Center who needed their course hours for certification purposes as well as students with special needs. Pat Stoetzer,, "Carroll County Board of Education candidates answer questions ahead of 2020 election," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When the Dodgers take the field in Tuesday night’s National League Division Series opener against the San Diego Padres, their usual batting practice music will course through the stadium. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Globe Life Field will sound like Dodger Stadium during Dodgers NLDS home games," 6 Oct. 2020 The Luminaries course the Riverdale actress took, according to her post, was founded by two master Reiki practitioners who met 10 years ago while working at a Luluemon in Vancouver. Molly Longman,, "I Want Lili Reinhart To Be My Reiki Master," 29 Sep. 2020 While the pandemic continues to course through much of the country, some industry watchers say there are risks in reopening too soon, especially with ongoing shortages of staff and personal protective equipment. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "What nursing homes need: Lockdown safety – and room for hugs," 9 Sep. 2020 The focus extends geographically and conceptually beyond a traditional introductory African American studies course, instead featuring a global and cross-discipline orientation. Erik Gleibermann, Washington Post, "New College Board curriculum puts the African diaspora in the spotlight," 8 Sep. 2020 Hnatyshyn opened with a 4-under 68 on the 6,600-yard, par-72 course Aug. 15 to take a three-shot lead over Fontenot. Jim Derry | Staff Writer,, "St. Paul's Riley Hnatyshyn wins state junior golf tournament," 19 Aug. 2020 Faculty members will hear from their department about any changes to course formats, and staff will contact their managers about in-person requirements, said the email to faculty and staff. Claire Hao,, "DePaul University shifts ‘vast majority’ of classes online, closes residence halls to most students," 12 Aug. 2020 Think methods to predict how panic might course through the global financial system, or how bad information is transmitted on Facebook. Gregory Barber, Wired, "A Mathematician’s Guide to How Contagion Spreads," 7 July 2020 The fundamentals were all there, though, so there was an opportunity for the show to course correct. Brendan Morrow, TheWeek, "The Twilight Zone’s second season is far from perfect — but it’s promising," 27 June 2020

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.

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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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Learn More about course

Time Traveler for course

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for course

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for course


How to pronounce course (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move or flow quickly


\ 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

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