[ kur-ser ]
/ ˈkɜr sər /


Digital Technology. a movable, sometimes blinking, symbol that indicates the position on a display screen where the next character entered from the keyboard will appear, or where user action is needed.
a sliding object, as the lined glass on a slide rule, that can be set at any point on a scale.

Origin of cursor

1250–1300; Middle English: “runner, courier”; ( 1590–1600 in sense “sliding object” < Latin), equivalent to cur(rere) “to run” + -sor, for -tor -tor; cf. course Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cursor

British Dictionary definitions for cursor


/ (ˈkɜːsə) /


the sliding part of a measuring instrument, esp a transparent sliding square on a slide rule
any of various means, typically a flashing bar or underline, of identifying a particular position on a computer screen, such as the insertion point for text
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 cursor



computer sense is 1967 extension of name for the sliding part of a slide rule or other instrument (1590s), earlier "a running messenger" (c.1300), from Latin cursor "runner," also "errand-boy," from curs-, past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper