[kawrs, kohrs]
See more synonyms for course on
  1. a direction or route taken or to be taken.
  2. the path, route, or channel along which anything moves: the course of a stream.
  3. advance or progression in a particular direction; forward or onward movement.
  4. the continuous passage or progress through time or a succession of stages: in the course of a year; in the course of the battle.
  5. the track, ground, water, etc., on which a race is run, sailed, etc.: One runner fell halfway around the course.
  6. a particular manner of proceeding: a course of action.
  7. a customary manner of procedure; regular or natural order of events: as a matter of course; the course of a disease.
  8. a mode of conduct; behavior.
  9. a systematized or prescribed series: a course of lectures; a course of medical treatments.
  10. a program of instruction, as in a college or university: a course in economics.
  11. a prescribed number of instruction periods or classes in a particular field of study.
  12. a part of a meal served at one time: The main course was roast chicken with mashed potatoes and peas.
  13. Navigation.
    1. the line along the earth's surface upon or over which a vessel, an aircraft, etc., proceeds: described by its bearing with relation to true or magnetic north.
    2. a point of the compass.
  14. Nautical. the lowermost sail on a fully square-rigged mast: designated by a special name, as foresail or mainsail, or by the designation of the mast itself, as fore course or main course.
  15. Building Trades. a continuous and usually horizontal range of bricks, shingles, etc., as in a wall or roof.
  16. one of the pairs of strings on an instrument of the lute family, tuned in unison or in octaves to increase the volume.
  17. the row of stitches going across from side to side in knitting and other needlework (opposed to wale).
  18. Often courses. the menses.
  19. a charge by knights in a tournament.
  20. a pursuit of game with dogs by sight rather than by scent.
  21. golf course.
  22. a race.
verb (used with object), coursed, cours·ing.
  1. to run through or over.
  2. to chase; pursue.
  3. to hunt (game) with dogs by sight rather than by scent.
  4. to cause (dogs) to pursue game by sight rather than by scent.
  5. Masonry. to lay (bricks, stones, etc.) in courses.
verb (used without object), coursed, cours·ing.
  1. to follow a course; direct one's course.
  2. to run, race, or move swiftly: The blood of ancient emperors courses through his veins.
  3. to take part in a hunt with hounds, a tilting match, etc.
  1. in due course, in the proper or natural order of events; eventually: They will get their comeuppance in due course.
  2. of course,
    1. certainly; definitely: Of course I'll come to the party.
    2. in the usual or natural order of things: Extra services are charged for, of course.

Origin of course

1250–1300; Middle English co(u)rs (noun) < Anglo-French co(u)rs(e), Old French cours < Latin cursus “a running, course,” equivalent to cur(rere) “to run” + -sus, variant of -tus suffix of verb action
Related formsmul·ti·course, nounun·der·course, verb, un·der·coursed, un·der·cours·ing, noun
Can be confusedcoarse course curse

Synonyms for course

See more synonyms for on
1. way, road, track, passage. 2, 13a. bearing. 6. method, mode. 7. process, career. 15. row, layer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for course

Contemporary Examples of course

Historical Examples of course

  • The prize was bestowed on him who ran the course without extinguishing his torch.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • In the course of this process he fell into adventures, some of them, perhaps, unedifying.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But of course it will be only fair to sis to lay the matter before her just as it is.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Of course this isn't all mine; it includes ma's and Psyche's.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Why, of course not, Uncle Peter; only I had to look around some at first,—for a year or so.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for course


  1. a continuous progression from one point to the next in time or space; onward movementthe course of his life
  2. a route or direction followedthey kept on a southerly course
    1. the path or channel along which something movesthe course of a river
    2. (in combination)a watercourse
  3. an area or stretch of land or water on which a sport is played or a race is runa golf course
  4. a period of time; durationin the course of the next hour
  5. the usual order of and time required for a sequence of events; regular procedurethe illness ran its course
  6. a mode of conduct or actionif you follow that course, you will certainly fail
  7. a connected series of events, actions, etc
    1. a prescribed number of lessons, lectures, etc, in an educational curriculum
    2. the material covered in such a curriculum
  8. a prescribed regimen to be followed for a specific period of timea course of treatment
  9. a part of a meal served at one timethe fish course
  10. a continuous, usually horizontal, layer of building material, such as a row of bricks, tiles, etc
  11. nautical any of the sails on the lowest yards of a square-rigged ship
  12. knitting the horizontal rows of stitchesCompare wale 1 (def. 2b)
  13. (in medieval Europe) a charge by knights in a tournament
    1. a hunt by hounds relying on sight rather than scent
    2. a match in which two greyhounds compete in chasing a hare
  14. the part or function assigned to an individual bell in a set of changes
  15. archaic a running race
  16. as a matter of course as a natural or normal consequence, mode of action, or event
  17. the course of nature the ordinary course of events
  18. in course of in the process ofthe ship was in course of construction
  19. in due course at some future time, esp the natural or appropriate time
  20. of course
    1. (adverb)as expected; naturally
    2. (sentence substitute)certainly; definitely
  21. run its course or take its course (of something) to complete its development or action
  1. (intr) to run, race, or flow, esp swiftly and without interruption
  2. to cause (hounds) to hunt by sight rather than scent or (of hounds) to hunt (a quarry) thus
  3. (tr) to run through or over; traverse
  4. (intr) to take a direction; proceed on a course
See also courses

Word Origin for course

C13: from Old French cours, from Latin cursus a running, 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

Word Origin and History for course

late 13c., "onward movement," from Old French cors (12c.) "course; run, running; flow of a river," from Latin cursus "a running race or course," from curs- past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).

Most extended senses (meals, etc.) are present in 14c. Academic meaning "planned series of study" is c.1600 (in French from 14c.). Phrase of course is attested from 1540s; literally "of the ordinary course;" earlier in same sense was bi cours (c.1300).


16c., from course (n.). Related: Coursed; coursing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with course


In addition to the idiom beginning with course

  • course of true love never ran smoothly, the

also see:

  • crash course
  • in due course
  • matter of course
  • of course
  • par for the course
  • run its course
  • stay the course
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.