a. Development in a particular way; progress: the course of events.
b. Movement in time; duration: in the course of a year.
a. The direction of continuing movement: The boat took a northern course.
b. The route or path taken by something that moves, such as a stream or vehicle.
a. A designated route or area on which a race is held: the course of a marathon.
b. See golf course.
4. A mode of action or behavior: followed the best course and invested her money.
5. A typical, natural, or customary manner of proceeding or developing: a fad that ran its course.
6. A systematic or orderly succession; a sequence: a course of medical treatments.
7. A continuous layer of building material, such as brick or tile, on a wall or roof of a building.
a. A complete body of prescribed studies constituting a curriculum: a four-year course in engineering.
b. A unit of such a curriculum: took an introductory course in chemistry; passed her calculus course.
9. A part of a meal served as a unit at one time: The first course was a delicious soup.
10. Nautical The lowest sail on a mast of a square-rigged ship.
11. A point on the compass, especially the one toward which a vehicle, such as a ship, is moving.
12. Music A string or set of two or more closely-spaced and usually identically-tuned strings, as on a lute.
v. coursed, cours·ing, cours·es
1. To move swiftly through or over; traverse: ships coursing the seas.
a. To hunt (game) with hounds.
b. To set (hounds) to chase game.
1. To proceed or move swiftly in a certain direction or along a course: "Big tears now coursed down her face" (Iris Murdoch).
2. To hunt game with hounds.
Away from the planned or intended course.
in due course
At the proper or right time: Things will get better in due course.
1. As is to be expected under the circumstances; naturally or obviously: Of course someone had to clean up the mess.
2. Used to indicate assent or agreement: "Do you like her music?" "Of course!"
Following the planned or intended course.
run/take its course
To follow its natural progression or development: Should we let the illness run its course?
[Middle English, from Old French cours, from Latin cursus, from past participle of currere, to run; see kers- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.