\ 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

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 Wisconsin, of course, would like a reason to join them. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Nov. 2021 The house can afford profligate spending, of course, because LVMH is controlled by the Arnault family, which is far more patient than Wall Street fund managers. Christina Binkley, Robb Report, 27 Nov. 2021 The Hoosiers, of course, knew what Purdue was going to do, but couldn't stop it. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 27 Nov. 2021 Then, of course, that little stinker was not going to be caged. Arkansas Online, 27 Nov. 2021 The former offers full HD definition, while the latter of course provides stunning 4K solutions for just $29. Nina Huang,, 26 Nov. 2021 Now, of course, Leiataua wears the Cougar blue every day. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Gaga and Driver had their own makeup and hair teams, but makeup designer Jana Carboni oversaw the looks, collaborating with the actors’ teams and presenting mood boards based on her extensive research of photos, books and of course, Vogue Italia. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 26 Nov. 2021 And that would, of course, be a neatly Gödelian recursive arrangement, of a sinister turn. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 26 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Teams are still salvageable with leadership helping to course correct. Expert Panel, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 On Sunday night through Monday, southwest winds could course through higher elevation, including the Antelope Valley. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2021 In sum, nearly all the forces that will course through 2022 are running through Ohio—and landing squarely in the Tim Ryan campaign. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2021 Knowing which numbers to monitor and what the fluctuation in results means is essential to course correct in your business. Melissa Houston, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Many clubs and courses now outfit golfers with GPS devices that track their movements across the grounds, using the data to help course operators identify areas of slow play and eliminate obstacles that cause backups. Angus Loten, WSJ, 24 Sep. 2021 Tulsa was able to craft important health policies and procedures based on recent data instead of receiving research months later and trying to course correct based on information that was no longer relevant. Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Trevor Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board and head of the AP program, told me 99 percent of U.S. colleges and universities award course credit to students who do well on the AP or IB final exams. Jay Mathews, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2021 But while bleaker themes course through on some parts of the album, this is a band that can’t escape its own ebullience elsewhere. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 2 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near course



coursed ashlar

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Statistics for course

Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on course

Nglish: Translation of course for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of course for Arabic Speakers


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