Definition of cursory
- a cursory glance
- Only a cursory inspection of the building's electrical wiring was done.
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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.
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.
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."
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