\ 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 Jessica Hembree, a school board member in Shawnee Mission, Kan. No one over the course of my life had really encouraged me or suggested or invited me to run for anything. New York Times, "Would a 37-Year-Old Woman Be Where Pete Buttigieg Is?," 18 Jan. 2020 But there are dozens of players on the roster over the course of a season and the same number of executive, coaches, trainers, and staffers around the team. Peter Abraham,, "Recapping baseball’s week of scandal," 18 Jan. 2020 Peart joined Lee and Lifeson in 1974, and earned his place as one of the greatest drummers in rock history over the course of his decades-long career. Sophie Dodd,, "Remembering the Stars We've Lost in 2020," 17 Jan. 2020 Residents submitted their choices, votes were taken, and over the course of five different campaigns and 15-plus years, Phoenix settled on 31 Points of Pride. Donna Reiner, azcentral, "Phoenix has just one National Historic Landmark. Have you seen it yet?," 16 Jan. 2020 The archive contains more than 37,000 objects, including posters, film stills, scripts and a reference library collected by film historian over the course of some 40 years. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "George Lucas’ New Museum Acquires Major Archive of African American Film History," 16 Jan. 2020 The social media exchange by author Howard Mittelmark was in direct violation of Justice James Burke’s order to sworn-in prospective panelists over the course of the past week to refrain from discussing the case with anyone, by any means. Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post, "Judge threatens prospective Weinstein juror with jail for tweeting about the case," 16 Jan. 2020 Hundreds of millions of people in China are expected to travel over the course of the new year period, both within the country and overseas. Helen Regan And Nectar Gan, CNN, "A second person has died from a new SARS-like virus in China," 16 Jan. 2020 Thirty-year mortgages, which are more popular, are paid off over the course of 30 years while 15-year mortgages, unsurprisingly, are paid off in 15. Brittany Anas, Marie Claire, "How to Afford a Home," 15 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Very quickly, Elway discovered Fangio’s Way needed to be The Broncos’ New Way to course correct a franchise that had lost its collective way since winning the Super Bowl following the 2015 season. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos GM John Elway believes Vic Fangio is the right man with the right plan," 8 Sep. 2019 The adrenaline that courses through Pierce’s performance never lets up, even — no especially — when Willy is recalling a supposedly happier, easier past. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Arthur Miller’s Dying ‘Salesman’ Is Reborn in London," 2 Jan. 2020 Today, much of the anger directed at the French president in the crowds coursing through the streets was nearly personal. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "General Strike in France Challenges Macron’s Latest Ambition for Change," 5 Dec. 2019 There was an unholy concoction of cocaine, cognac and cannabis coursing through my veins. Natalie Stone,, "Lamar Odom Says He Has Been 'Saved': 'I Had to Show Jesus My Appreciation for Keeping Me Alive!'," 1 Nov. 2019 Sometimes people won’t initially feel pain because of the adrenaline that courses through the body during life-threatening events. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Earthquake safety tips," 20 Sep. 2019 The comedy in Shakespeare’s play barely masks the violence that courses beneath it, as Leon is well aware. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Finding Refuge in “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Much Ado About Nothing”," 17 June 2019 Nervous jitters coursed through her body, leftovers from the stressful rappelling. Heather Balogh Rochfort, The Know, "Why women-only adventure travel is surging," 31 Aug. 2019 But medical records do not indicate that anyone ordered a blood test that could have detected the unprescribed insulin investigators suspect coursed through his veins, killing him. Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY, "Oversights, lapses at VA hospital risked veterans’ lives, limit evidence in homicide probe," 30 Aug. 2019

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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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

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Course.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on course

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for course

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with course

Spanish Central: Translation of course

Nglish: Translation of course for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of course for Arabic Speakers

Comments on course

What made you want to look up course? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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