\ 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 That mission failed, of course, but Pio Laghi’s warning proved prophetic: Iraq and much of the region descended into war and chaos, with consequences foreseen and unforeseen. Andrew Doran, National Review, "The Future of Christians in the Middle East," 25 Apr. 2021 Twitter, of course, had a field day with Kaluuya’s impromptu remarks. Aida Ylanan, Los Angeles Times, "Wait, what? Why Daniel Kaluuya’s Oscars speech thanked his parents for having sex," 25 Apr. 2021 And then of course, throwing with the receivers, doing mesh stuff with the running backs to keep sharp on all that stuff. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football QB battle between Payton Thorne, Anthony Russo simmers into summer," 25 Apr. 2021 And, of course, stories were told of the winds blowing and grass moving eerily at night, shadows flitting over the pavement. oregonlive, "They were paved over and forgotten for decades. Now a cemetery garden will honor Chinese workers buried in SE Portland," 25 Apr. 2021 My choices reflect my taste and are, of course, subjective. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Your turn to vote! Tina Turner or Foo Fighters? Kate Bush or Devo? Jay-Z or Fela?," 25 Apr. 2021 There are a lot of requests for additional colors, sizes, and of course, pants. Rachel King, Fortune, "The pantsuit designed for working from home," 25 Apr. 2021 That term is, of course, defined in the federal laws they are supposed to enforce. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "White House Report Card: ‘Blame America First’ in full view," 24 Apr. 2021 Its real purpose, of course, was to discourage protesting and punish demonstrators. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "The Right to Crash Cars Into People," 24 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This current will also course through other areas of legal practice. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, "Digital Litigation: Dispute Avoidance, Early-Detection, Accelerated Case Strategy, And Early-Resolution," 19 Apr. 2021 The data also can help course rangers identify areas of slow play, so obstacles creating backups can be eliminated. Bradley S. Klein, WSJ, "Golfers Can Now Get Data. And More Data.," 7 Apr. 2021 As the months progressed, Metro Health had to continually course correct. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "COVID-19 one year later: What San Antonio's public health and medical experts have learned from the pandemic," 2 Apr. 2021 There’s a clear incentive for the Saudis to course correct. Washington Post, "Biden’s Saudi Arabia problem," 1 Mar. 2021 But the reception to it — or lack thereof — signaled that legislators may not act quickly as the coronavirus continues to course through Wisconsin. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Assembly Republicans offer COVID-19 plan, but there's no sign of support yet from the Senate," 1 Dec. 2020 Electrolytes and aminos combined with pure CBD isolate will course through your veins, resulting in superior hydration and better stamina! Micolette Davis, Chron, "Save 20-30% on high quality CBD products for humans and dogs," 9 Mar. 2021 There are also Federal Communications Commission guidelines limiting the amount of radio-frequency energy that can course through the air in your home. Washington Post, "One innovation we won’t be seeing soon: Over-the-air charging," 5 Mar. 2021 Attracting mountain bikers, hikers, and birders alike, trails course through woods dense with white pine, Eastern hemlock, and maple, an ideal habitat for black and white warblers feeding around large tree limbs. Jeanine Barone,, "Eight great places for bird-watching in New England," 4 Mar. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for course



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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Comments on course

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