cur·​sive | \ ˈkər-siv How to pronounce cursive (audio) \

Definition of cursive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: running, coursing: such as
a of writing : flowing often with the strokes of successive characters joined and the angles rounded
b : having a flowing, easy, impromptu character



Definition of cursive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a manuscript written in cursive writing also : cursive writing
2 : a style of printed letter resembling handwriting

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cursive


cursively adverb
cursiveness noun

Examples of cursive in a Sentence


He writes in cursive when he takes notes.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Tell time by hands on a clock Like cursive writing, analog clocks may be teetering on extinction. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "20 everyday tasks that nobody does anymore," 13 June 2019 Those that knew Helen could count on receiving thoughtful notes in her perfect cursive penmanship., "Helen Rogers," 20 June 2019 Sara, who in April won the Nicholas Maxim Award of the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest for cursive handwriting, threw the pitch to fellow Frederick native and Orioles reliever Branden Kline. Jon Meoli,, "10-year-old Sara Hinsley, born without hands, throws out first pitch at Orioles game," 29 June 2019 But the artifacts are dwarfed by thousands of note cards covered in minuscule cursive handwriting. Gal Beckerman, New York Times, "The Holocaust Survivor Who Deciphered Nazi Doublespeak," 24 June 2019 Carleton’s contemporaneous notes are a model of clarity and completeness, telling the whole story in chronological order in elegant cursive lettering. Sean P. Murphy,, "A broken refrigerator and the store that took too long to make things right," 10 June 2019 Or cursive can just become some strange and secret writing for grandparents. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: How can we improve public education?," 14 June 2019 The trademark of Lingua Franca sweaters were embroidered hip hop lyrics in a whimsical cursive font—that is, until Donald Trump became president. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Show You "Give a Damn" With This New Bag Benefitting She Should Run," 5 Oct. 2018 More than a dozen other states are reinstating cursive lessons in schools. Jessie Balmert,, "Ohio students could learn cursive handwriting again," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Offset shared a screengrab of himself FaceTiming Cardi B, who appeared to be lifting her leg up to show off his name tattooed in cursive on the back of her thigh. Jen Juneau,, "Cardi B Shares Bouncy Video of Kulture with Mom's 'Energy' — but Says Her 'Attitude' Is 'Dad'," 23 July 2019 Research shows that writing in print, in cursive, or by typing are each associated with distinct brain patterns and significant learning outcomes. Vanessa Chang, WIRED, "How Phone Taps and Swipes Train Us to Be Better Consumers," 10 July 2019 The country music star, 39, memorialized his 3-year-old son by getting River's name tattooed on his right forearm in black cursive script three weeks after the toddler died. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Granger Smith debuts new tattoo in honor of son River following his tragic drowning," 26 June 2019 The Cranks Bible read the title in vibrant cursive script. Julia Tausch, Bon Appetit, "'The Cranks Bible' Is the Only Vegetarian Cookbook I'll Ever Need," 13 June 2018 In the music video, it's seen after the second verse, written in cursive on a neon sign in the background. Glamour, "Taylor Swift Just Dropped Another Huge Hint About Her New Album Title," 25 May 2019 There’s a 5 on the actress’s rib cage beneath her shirt, and a chai—the Jewish symbol for life—on her inner wrist shares real estate with a cursive yes that was inspired by an early Yoko Ono installation. Julia Felsenthal, Marie Claire, "It's Tessa Thompson's Time to Shine," 11 June 2019 Her name was written in cursive script at the bottom, following by her dates. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jenna Bush Hager Commemorates the Anniversary of Barbara Bush's Death with a Touching Instagram Post," 18 Apr. 2019 Mostly hidden on the inside of her right arm, the tiny piece is a word in cursive that was too small for most people to decipher. Evelyn Wang, Teen Vogue, "Kaia Gerber Got Her First Ever Teeny Tiny Tattoo," 12 Oct. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of cursive


circa 1784, in the meaning defined above


1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cursive


borrowed from Medieval Latin cursīvus, from Latin cursus, past participle of currere "to run" + -īvus -ive — more at current entry 1

Note: The word cursīva (scrīptūra "writing" presumably understood) is used for scripts by the German Benedictine monk and scribe Leonhard Wagner (Leonardus Wirchlin, 1453-1522) in Proba centum scripturarum una manu exaratarum (1507), which named and exemplified a hundred different hands from the 11th century to the author's own day. It is unclear if the word was used earlier. (There is no lemma for cursīvus in the Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch.) For Latin cursus as the past participle of currere—for expected *co(r)stus—see note at course entry 1.


derivative of cursive entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cursive

Dictionary Entries near cursive

curse word







Statistics for cursive

Last Updated

30 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cursive

The first known use of cursive was circa 1784

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cursive



English Language Learners Definition of cursive

: a type of handwriting in which all the letters in a word are connected to each other


cur·​sive | \ ˈkər-siv How to pronounce cursive (audio) \

Kids Definition of cursive

: a type of handwriting in which all the letters of a word are connected to each other

Other Words from cursive

cursive adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on cursive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cursive

Nglish: Translation of cursive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cursive

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!