[kawrs, kohrs]
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adjective, coars·er, coars·est.
  1. composed of relatively large parts or particles: The beach had rough, coarse sand.
  2. lacking in fineness or delicacy of texture, structure, etc.: The stiff, coarse fabric irritated her skin.
  3. harsh; grating.
  4. lacking delicacy, taste, or refinement; unpolished: He had coarse manners but an absolutely first-rate mind.
  5. of inferior or faulty quality; common; base.
  6. vulgar; obscene; crude: His coarse language angered us.
  7. (of metals) unrefined.
  8. (of a metal file) having the maximum commercial grade of coarseness.

Origin of coarse

First recorded in 1550–60; earlier cors(e), course, cowarce; of obscure origin
Related formscoarse·ly, adverbcoarse·ness, nounun·coarse, adjectiveun·coarse·ly, adverbun·coarse·ness, noun
Can be confusedcoarse course curse

Synonyms for coarse

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Antonyms for coarse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for coarse


  1. rough in texture, structure, etc; not finecoarse sand
  2. lacking refinement or taste; indelicate; vulgarcoarse jokes
  3. of inferior quality; not pure or choice
  4. (of a metal) not refined
  5. (of a screw) having widely spaced threads
Derived Formscoarsely, adverbcoarseness, noun

Word Origin for coarse

C14: of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for coarse

early 15c., cors "ordinary" (modern spelling is from late 16c.), probably adjectival use of noun cours (see course (n.)), originally referring to rough cloth for ordinary wear. Developed a sense of "rude" c.1500 and "obscene" by 1711. Perhaps related, via metathesis, to French gros, which had a similar sense development. Related: Coarsely; coarseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper