cursory

adjective cur·so·ry \ ˈkərs-rē , ˈkər-sə- \
Updated on: 9 Nov 2017

Definition of cursory

:rapidly and often superficially performed or produced :hasty
  • a cursory glance
  • Only a cursory inspection of the building's electrical wiring was done.

cursorily

play \ˈkərs-rə-lē, ˈkər-sə-\ adverb

cursoriness

play \ˈkərs-rē-nəs, ˈkər-sə-\ noun

cursory was our Word of the Day on 08/02/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cursory in a Sentence

  1. Only a cursory inspection of the building's electrical wiring was done.

  2. The mayor gave a cursory glance at the report.

  3. Even the most cursory look at the organization's records shows problems.

Recent Examples of cursory from the Web

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

What Is the Difference Between cursory,superficial, and shallow?

Cursory and its synonyms "superficial" and "shallow" all mean "lacking in depth or solidity" - but these words are not used in exactly the same way in all cases. "Cursory," which comes from the Latin verb currere ("to run"), implies speed and stresses a lack of attention to detail. While "cursory" suggests a lack of thoroughness, "superficial" implies a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features. An analysis of a problem might be labeled "superficial" if it considers only the obvious and fails to dig deeper into the issue. "Shallow" is more generally derogatory in implying lack of depth in knowledge, reasoning, emotions, or character, as in "insensitive and shallow comments."

Origin and Etymology of cursory

Late Latin cursorius of running, from Latin currere — see 1cursive

Synonym Discussion of cursory

superficial, shallow, cursory mean lacking in depth or solidity. superficial implies a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features.
    • a superficial analysis of the problem
shallow is more generally derogatory in implying lack of depth in knowledge, reasoning, emotions, or character.
    • a light, shallow, and frivolous review
cursory suggests a lack of thoroughness or a neglect of details.
    • gave the letter only a cursory reading

CURSORY Defined for English Language Learners

cursory

adjective

Definition of cursory for English Language Learners

  • : done or made quickly


CURSORY Defined for Kids

cursory

adjective cur·so·ry \ ˈkərs-rē , ˈkər-sə-rē \

Definition of cursory for Students

:done or made quickly
  • a cursory reply


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to praise usually to excess

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