[kawr-sing, kohr-]


the act of a person or thing that courses.
the sport of pursuing game with dogs that follow by sight rather than by scent.

Nearby words

  1. course work,
  2. courser,
  3. courses,
  4. courseware,
  5. coursework,
  6. court,
  7. court card,
  8. court christian,
  9. court circular,
  10. court cupboard

Origin of coursing

First recorded in 1530–40; course + -ing1


[kawrs, kohrs]


a direction or route taken or to be taken.
the path, route, or channel along which anything moves: the course of a stream.
advance or progression in a particular direction; forward or onward movement.
the continuous passage or progress through time or a succession of stages: in the course of a year; in the course of the battle.
the track, ground, water, etc., on which a race is run, sailed, etc.: One runner fell halfway around the course.
a particular manner of proceeding: a course of action.
a customary manner of procedure; regular or natural order of events: as a matter of course; the course of a disease.
a mode of conduct; behavior.
a systematized or prescribed series: a course of lectures; a course of medical treatments.
a program of instruction, as in a college or university: a course in economics.
a prescribed number of instruction periods or classes in a particular field of study.
a part of a meal served at one time: The main course was roast chicken with mashed potatoes and peas.
  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.
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.
Building Trades. a continuous and usually horizontal range of bricks, shingles, etc., as in a wall or roof.
one of the pairs of strings on an instrument of the lute family, tuned in unison or in octaves to increase the volume.
the row of stitches going across from side to side in knitting and other needlework (opposed to wale).
Often courses. the menses.
a charge by knights in a tournament.
a pursuit of game with dogs by sight rather than by scent.
a race.

verb (used with object), coursed, cours·ing.

to run through or over.
to chase; pursue.
to hunt (game) with dogs by sight rather than by scent.
to cause (dogs) to pursue game by sight rather than by scent.
Masonry. to lay (bricks, stones, etc.) in courses.

verb (used without object), coursed, cours·ing.

to follow a course; direct one's course.
to run, race, or move swiftly: The blood of ancient emperors courses through his veins.
to take part in a hunt with hounds, a tilting match, etc.

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

Examples from the Web for coursing

British Dictionary definitions for coursing



hunting with hounds or dogs that follow their quarry by sight
a sport in which hounds are matched against one another in pairs for the hunting of hares by sight



a continuous progression from one point to the next in time or space; onward movementthe course of his life
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
an area or stretch of land or water on which a sport is played or a race is runa golf course
a period of time; durationin the course of the next hour
the usual order of and time required for a sequence of events; regular procedurethe illness ran its course
a mode of conduct or actionif you follow that course, you will certainly fail
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
a prescribed regimen to be followed for a specific period of timea course of treatment
a part of a meal served at one timethe fish course
a continuous, usually horizontal, layer of building material, such as a row of bricks, tiles, etc
nautical any of the sails on the lowest yards of a square-rigged ship
knitting the horizontal rows of stitchesCompare wale 1 (def. 2b)
(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
the part or function assigned to an individual bell in a set of changes
archaic a running race
as a matter of course as a natural or normal consequence, mode of action, or event
the course of nature the ordinary course of events
in course of in the process ofthe ship was in course of construction
in due course at some future time, esp the natural or appropriate time
of course
  1. (adverb)as expected; naturally
  2. (sentence substitute)certainly; definitely
run its course or take its course (of something) to complete its development or action


(intr) to run, race, or flow, esp swiftly and without interruption
to cause (hounds) to hunt by sight rather than scent or (of hounds) to hunt (a quarry) thus
(tr) to run through or over; traverse
(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 coursing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with coursing


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.