\ ˈkȯrs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of moving in a path from point to point the planets in their courses
2 : the path over which something moves or extends: such as
b(1) : the direction of travel of a vehicle (such as a ship or airplane) usually measured as a clockwise angle from north also : the projected path of travel
(2) : a point of the compass
3a : accustomed procedure or normal action the law taking its course
b : a chosen manner of conducting oneself : way of acting Our wisest course is to retreat.
c(1) : progression through a development or period or a series of acts or events the course of history
4 : an ordered process or succession: such as
a : a number of lectures or other matter dealing with a subject took a course in zoology also : a series of such courses constituting a curriculum a premed course
b : a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period
5a : a part of a meal served at one time the main course
b : layer especially : a continuous level range of brick or masonry throughout a wall
c : the lowest sail on a square-rigged mast
in due course
: after a normal passage of time : in the expected or allotted time His discoveries led in due course to new forms of treatment.
of course
1 : following the ordinary way or procedure will be done as a matter of course
2 : as might be expected Of course we will go.


coursed; coursing

Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to follow close upon : pursue
2a : to hunt or pursue (game) with hounds
b : to cause (dogs) to run (as after game)
3 : to run or move swiftly through or over : traverse Jets coursed the area daily.

intransitive verb

: to run or pass rapidly along or as if along an indicated path blood coursing through the veins

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Synonyms & Antonyms for course

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of course in a Sentence

Noun the course of a river The pilot brought the plane back on course. The ship was blown off course by a storm. She's taking a chemistry course this semester. Students earn the degree after a two-year course of study. There is no cure, but the treatment will slow the course of the disease. Verb the blood coursing through my veins Tears were coursing down his cheeks.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But there is no indication, at this point, that the candidates trailing in the polls are prepared to alter course and consider strategic cross-endorsements. Dan Merica, CNN, "Yes, Andrew Yang could be New York City's next mayor," 13 Apr. 2021 Ladd said children’s earliest experiences can set a course for the rest of their lives. oregonlive, "Oregon Senate committee approves plan to ban preschool suspensions by 2026 over childcare providers’ objections," 13 Apr. 2021 And the experience set a course for what would become a lifetime of running for the pair., "Rick Hoyt remembers his father Dick ahead of traditional Boston Marathon date," 13 Apr. 2021 Something Good also recently launched its Corporate Social Responsibility for Small Business course. Dallas News, "North Texas mother and son team up to help businesses give back with purpose," 13 Apr. 2021 Bell also flew from the IMS road course to Daytona on July 4 last season and barely made his own broadcast-racing double-duty day. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "NBC Sports won't confirm broadcaster Paul Tracy's reduced schedule nor the reason for it," 13 Apr. 2021 There are no treatments that slow the course of the universally fatal disease itself, only that work to alleviate symptoms. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Huntington’s community grieves not just one therapeutic setback, but two," 13 Apr. 2021 The other option, FLVS Flex, allows students to enroll at any time and take one course or multiple courses as a supplement to homeschooling or other schooling. Lois K. Solomon,, "Don’t want your kid back in the classroom next year? Here are some virtual school options," 13 Apr. 2021 Staying the course: With De La Salle-Concord’s Saturday game at California-San Ramon in question due to a COVID-19 result, there were discussions of the Spartans playing either Marin Catholic or SJS powers Folsom or Rocklin. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, "A bit of redemption as Marin Catholic pummels small-school power Central Catholic," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The data also can help course rangers identify areas of slow play, so obstacles creating backups can be eliminated. Bradley S. Klein, WSJ, "Golfers Can Now Get Data. And More Data.," 7 Apr. 2021 As the months progressed, Metro Health had to continually course correct. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "COVID-19 one year later: What San Antonio's public health and medical experts have learned from the pandemic," 2 Apr. 2021 There’s a clear incentive for the Saudis to course correct. Washington Post, "Biden’s Saudi Arabia problem," 1 Mar. 2021 But the reception to it — or lack thereof — signaled that legislators may not act quickly as the coronavirus continues to course through Wisconsin. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Assembly Republicans offer COVID-19 plan, but there's no sign of support yet from the Senate," 1 Dec. 2020 Electrolytes and aminos combined with pure CBD isolate will course through your veins, resulting in superior hydration and better stamina! Micolette Davis, Chron, "Save 20-30% on high quality CBD products for humans and dogs," 9 Mar. 2021 There are also Federal Communications Commission guidelines limiting the amount of radio-frequency energy that can course through the air in your home. Washington Post, "One innovation we won’t be seeing soon: Over-the-air charging," 5 Mar. 2021 Attracting mountain bikers, hikers, and birders alike, trails course through woods dense with white pine, Eastern hemlock, and maple, an ideal habitat for black and white warblers feeding around large tree limbs. Jeanine Barone,, "Eight great places for bird-watching in New England," 4 Mar. 2021 Water began to course through the loop, moving with a low, vibrating hum. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, "How to Build an Artificial Heart," 1 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'course.' 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 course


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for course


Middle English cours, borrowed from Anglo-French cours, curs, going back to Latin cursus "action of running, charge, movement along a path, progress," from currere "to run, flow" + -tus, suffix of verbal action — more at current entry 1

Note: As pointed out by Michiel de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Leiden, 2008), the expected outcome of the verbal adjective in *-to- and the verbal noun in *-tū- would be *kostus < *korstus < *kr̥s-to-, kr̥s-tū-, from the verbal base *kr̥s- (> currere). The attested form cursus for both the past participle and verbal noun reflects remodeling on the pattern of stems ending in a dental (as morsus from mordere "to bite," versus from vertere "to turn"). As generally in Latin, the verbal noun, where full grade of the root would be expected, has been supplanted by zero grade of the verbal adjective.


Middle English coursen "to pursue," derivative of cours course entry 1

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Time Traveler for course

Time Traveler

The first known use of course was in the 14th century

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Statistics for course

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for course



English Language Learners Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the path or direction that something or someone moves along
: a path or route that runners, skiers, bikers, etc., move along especially in a race
: a series of classes about a particular subject in a school



English Language Learners Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move or flow quickly


\ ˈkȯrs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Kids Definition of course

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : motion from one point to another : progress in space or time The earth makes its course around the sun in 365 days. During the course of a year he meets dozens of people.
2 : the path over which something moves The ship was blown off course.
3 : a natural channel for water A trail follows the river's course.
4 : a way of doing something Choose a course of action.
5 : the ordinary way something happens over time the course of business
6 : a series of acts or proceedings arranged in regular order a course of therapies
7 : a series of classes in a subject a geography course
8 : a part of a meal served separately We ate a three course dinner.
of course
: as might be expected You know, of course, that I like you.


coursed; coursing

Kids Definition of course (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to run through or over
2 : to move rapidly : race


\ ˈkō(ə)rs, ˈkȯ(ə)rs How to pronounce course (audio) \

Medical Definition of course

1 : the series of events or stages comprising a natural process the course of a disease
2 : a series of doses or medications administered over a designated period a course of three doses daily for five days

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Comments on course

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