cursory

adjective
cur·​so·​ry | \ ˈkərs-rē How to pronounce cursory (audio) , ˈkər-sə- \

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.

Other Words from cursory

cursorily \ ˈkərs-​rə-​lē How to pronounce cursory (audio) , ˈkər-​sə-​ \ adverb
cursoriness \ ˈkərs-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce cursory (audio) , ˈkər-​sə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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

Cursory and its synonyms superficial and shallow all mean "lacking in depth or care"—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."

Examples of cursory in a Sentence

Only a cursory inspection of the building's electrical wiring was done. The mayor gave a cursory glance at the report. Even the most cursory look at the organization's records shows problems.
Recent Examples on the Web Demonstrate your sincere interest by asking questions that dive deeper than a cursory Google search. Forbes, 15 Apr. 2022 At the gatehouse, there was usually a lone soldier on duty who would give my pass a cursory glance. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 6 Apr. 2022 For Sebald, the conventions of travelogue are cursory at best, or a frame from which to hang his formidable abundance. David Guterson, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 Like nearly all scientists and nonscientists alike, my understanding of how biodiversity sustains humans was embarrassingly cursory. Doug Tallamy, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2021 But in reality, inspections are typically cursory or sometimes not done at all, the Journal Sentinel found. John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Dec. 2021 Moreover, any inspection, however principled the investigator, is likely to be cursory. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2021 In other locations, vaccination checks are cursory at best. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 27 Oct. 2021 Ordinarily such a scenario might prompt a cursory phone call between leaders to clear the air. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of cursory

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cursory

borrowed from Medieval Latin cursōrius "of running, swift" (Late Latin in nominal derivatives, as cursōria "shoe for running"), adjectival derivative of Latin cursor "runner" — more at cursor

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Time Traveler for cursory

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The first known use of cursory was in 1601

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Dictionary Entries Near cursory

Cursorius

cursory

cursus

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cursory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cursory. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cursory

cursory

adjective
cur·​so·​ry | \ ˈkərs-rē How to pronounce cursory (audio) , ˈkər-sə-rē \

Kids Definition of cursory

: done or made quickly a cursory reply

More from Merriam-Webster on cursory

Nglish: Translation of cursory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cursory for Arabic Speakers

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