• synonyms


  1. going rapidly over something, without noticing details; hasty; superficial: a cursory glance at a newspaper article.
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Origin of cursory

1595–1605; < Late Latin cursōrius running, equivalent to Latin cur(rere) to run + -sōrius, for -tōrius -tory1; cf. course
Related formscur·so·ri·ly, adverbcur·so·ri·ness, noun

Synonyms for cursory

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cursorily

Historical Examples of cursorily

  • The wide domain of science can be but cursorily touched upon.

    A Book for All Readers

    Ainsworth Rand Spofford

  • Cursorily, the district leader let his gaze wander about the apartment.

    Final Weapon

    Everett B. Cole

  • The women looked at her, not curiously, or with compassion or disgust, but cursorily.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke

  • I must cursorily observe, that the main circumstance which struck me in this detachment, was the extreme youth of the major part.

  • All these difficulties are well known, therefore I refer to them only cursorily.

    The Jewish State

    Theodor Herzl

British Dictionary definitions for cursorily


  1. hasty and usually superficial; quicka cursory check
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Derived Formscursorily, adverbcursoriness, noun

Word Origin for cursory

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

Word Origin and History for cursorily



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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper