cursory

adjective
cur·​so·​ry | \ˈkərs-rē, 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.

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Other Words from cursory

cursorily \ˈkərs-​rə-​lē, ˈkər-​sə-​ \ adverb
cursoriness \ˈkərs-​rē-​nəs, 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 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."

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even a cursory glance at the dust jackets of Ferrante’s books reveals that the story continues to follow the two women into adulthood and old age. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s My Brilliant Friend adaptation is a knockout," 18 Nov. 2018 Just a cursory glance at Mirren's résumé shows her commitment to portraying complex women. Caitlin Brody, Glamour, "Helen Mirren Is Done With Roles That Make Women 'Feel Shitty'," 20 Sep. 2018 As the years rolled on, Apple quietly retired the 11-inch Macbook Air, keeping its 13-inch brother on life support with cursory spec bumps. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Apple's New Macs Are the Ones You've Been Waiting on For Years," 30 Oct. 2018 More than a cursory glance of the squad bears him out. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Belgium’s Blueprint, Croatia’s Chaos, and the Murky Path to World Cup Glory," 10 July 2018 Neither does O’Toole give more than cursory attention to Wilson’s religious views, which always framed his sense of the ethical. Michael Kazin, New York Times, "Woodrow Wilson Achieved a Lot. So Why Is He So Scorned?," 22 June 2018 So many colors in such a harsh and, at cursory glance, seemingly relatively dull and even lifeless landscape. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "For hunters, South Texas colors a feast for the senses," 3 May 2018 Similarly, in three dozen false arrest lawsuits, Americans caught in the ICE dragnet alleged that officers took them into custody on the basis of cursory computer searches. Joel Rubin, latimes.com, "ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship," 27 Apr. 2018 But anyone who has paid even cursory attention to the national political debate over the last decade would know that reopening the torture debate might work well at a campaign rally but creates lots of problems in the Senate. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "White House stumbles add up to trouble for GOP," 25 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near cursory

Cursoria

cursorial

Cursorius

cursory

cursus

cursus honorum

curt

Statistics for cursory

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cursory

The first known use of cursory was in 1601

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More Definitions for cursory

cursory

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of cursory

: done or made quickly

cursory

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

Kids Definition of cursory

: done or made quickly a cursory reply

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More from Merriam-Webster on cursory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cursory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cursory

Spanish Central: Translation of cursory

Nglish: Translation of cursory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cursory for Arabic Speakers

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