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.

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Other Words from cursory

cursorily \ ˈkərs-​rə-​lē How to pronounce cursorily (audio) , ˈkər-​sə-​ \ adverb
cursoriness \ ˈkərs-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce cursoriness (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 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 League sources confirmed that there were some cursory discussions, but that they were initiated by the Rockets, who are actively shopping Capela to numerous teams around the NBA. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, "With the trade deadline approaching, here’s the latest on the Celtics," 4 Feb. 2020 Yet even a cursory reading of Signature Wounds demonstrates that public concern for the mental health of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ranged widely across the political map. David Oshinsky, The New York Review of Books, "‘The Human Mind Was Not Made for War’," 28 Jan. 2020 Venerated media institutions published obituaries that made only cursory references to the 2003 rape allegations. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "The stories we tell about Kobe Bryant," 28 Jan. 2020 Smith began systematically reviewing some old evidence, including California telephone records that received cursory attention the first time around. Tim Golden, ProPublica, "Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation," 23 Jan. 2020 He has been criticized for releasing only cursory details on his health while running for the White House. Time, "Bernie Sanders' Doctors Say He's Fit Enough for Presidency Post-Heart Attack," 30 Dec. 2019 The move to do away with Article 370 or the unprecedented restrictions to suppress resistance have hardly evoked discussions beyond a cursory level. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "With an eerie calm, Kashmir watches the “Kashmirisation” of India," 9 Jan. 2020 For all its failings and millennial-marketing trappings, Evryman offers a program that can help men who otherwise wouldn’t examine themselves gain a cursory sense of emotional intelligence. Susan Choi, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 6 Jan. 2020 He has been criticized for releasing only cursory details on his health while running for the White House. Washington Post, "Doctors: Sanders fit enough for presidency post-heart attack," 30 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for cursory

Time Traveler

The first known use of cursory was in 1601

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cursory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cursory. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for cursory

cursory

adjective
How to pronounce cursory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cursory

formal + often disapproving : done or made quickly

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cursory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cursory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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