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[kur-suh-ree] /ˈkɜr sə ri/
going rapidly over something, without noticing details; hasty; superficial:
a cursory glance at a newspaper article.
Origin of cursory
1595-1605; < Late Latin cursōrius running, equivalent to Latin cur(rere) to run + -sōrius, for -tōrius -tory1; cf. course
Related forms
cursorily, adverb
cursoriness, noun
quick, brief, passing, haphazard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cursory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He who writes for cursory reading is wise if he writes cursorily.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • To give more than a cursory description of our impressions is impossible.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • Desmond made a cursory tour of the walls and passed on into the second room.

  • Hastings stood up, his first, cursory examination concluded.

    No Clue James Hay
  • After a cursory examination he rose to his feet and pulled Mart up also.

    The Pirate Shark Elliott Whitney
British Dictionary definitions for cursory


hasty and usually superficial; quick: a cursory check
Derived Forms
cursorily, adverb
cursoriness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin cursōrius of running, from Latin cursus a course, from currere to run
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cursory

c.1600, from Middle French cursoire "rapid," from Late Latin cursorius "hasty, of a race or running," from Latin curs-, past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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