course

1 of 2

noun

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
3
a
: 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
5
a
: 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

course

2 of 2

verb

coursed; coursing

transitive verb

1
: to follow close upon : pursue
2
a
: 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
Phrases
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.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
And, of course, the $79 billion price tag is expected to be paid for by an early end to the employee retention credit. Kelly Phillips Erb, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 And of course, there’s Dominic Sessa, who had never been in a film before. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Feb. 2024 Despite 14% Decline in Ad Revenue There’s been much speculation, of course, in recent months about one of those solutions being yet another merger for a company that has gone through two major transactions, first with AT&T and then with Discovery, since 2018. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 24 Feb. 2024 Though the connection, of course, is unsubstantiated, Business Insider reports that Swift did sell one of her private jets on January 30, leaving her with one. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 24 Feb. 2024 During times of political strife and unease – war, climate change, economic turbulence (and of course, a pandemic) – people tend to question other institutions as well. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Parton, of course, is no stranger to No. 1s herself. Jessica Wang, EW.com, 23 Feb. 2024 And Tesla itself, of course, was recently topped in global EV sales by China’s BYD, chief among the Chinese EV makers striking fear into legacy automakers with their low production costs and rapidly expanding exports. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 Her sensational stage presence, her effortless effervescence, her apparent authenticity and, of course, the undeniably powerful instrument that is her voice. Théoden Janes, Charlotte Observer, 23 Feb. 2024
Verb
Carlos DeFord Bailey lights up the stage at the Grand Ole Opry, a testament to the musical and cultural legacy coursing through his veins. David Begnaud, CBS News, 7 Feb. 2024 Gushing rivers carried mud, rocks and household objects downhill as floodwaters coursed through Studio City, an area on the back side of the Hollywood Hills. John Antczak, arkansasonline.com, 6 Feb. 2024 Through the years, the group became increasingly inspired by anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments coursing through the Middle East. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 12 Jan. 2024 Her body grows weaker and weaker as the poison courses through her little fish body. Kathryn Kvas, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 Anaheim Union High School District in Orange County, California, is offering for the first time this fall an ethnic studies course focusing on the history and experiences of Korean Americans. Brahmjot Kaur, NBC News, 8 Sep. 2023 Despite its visionary scope, the P5 committee’s most pressing issue was arguably to course correct a project already well underway: DUNE, the overbudget and behind schedule U.S. flagship particle physics experiment. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, 13 Dec. 2023 One side effect of too much cortisol coursing through your bloodstream is inflammation, which can cause headaches, fatigue and feelings of anxiousness. Georgia Day, Vogue, 28 Dec. 2023 In turn, this ionization weakened radio waves coursing through the atmosphere. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'course.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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.

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near course

Cite this Entry

“Course.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/course. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

course

1 of 2 noun
ˈkō(ə)rs How to pronounce course (audio)
ˈkȯ(ə)rs
1
: the act or action of moving in a path from point to point
the planets in their courses
2
: the direction or route of motion or progress
the course of a river
a ship's course
3
: land laid out for golf
4
a
: normal or accustomed process or procedure
the disease ran its course
b
: manner of proceeding : conduct
a wise course
c
: progression through a period of time or a series of acts or events
was built in the course of a year
5
a
: an ordered process or series
b
: a series of classes in a subject
also : a group of such courses
a four-year course in chemistry
6
: a part of a meal served at one time
had salad for the first course
7
: a layer of brick or other building material in a wall

course

2 of 2 verb
coursed; coursing
1
: to run through or over
buffalo coursed the plains
2
: to move rapidly : race
blood coursing through the veins
Etymology

Noun

Middle English cours, course "action of moving in a certain path, path of movement, progress," from early French curs, course (same meaning), derived from Latin currere "to run" — related to corridor, current

Medical Definition

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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