c. 1300, "onward movement, motion forward, a running in a prescribed direction or over a prescribed distance; path or distance prescribed for a race, a race-course" from Old French cors "course; run, running; flow of a river" (12c.), from Latin cursus "a running; a journey; direction, track navigated by a ship; flow of a stream;" from curs- past participle stem of currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run").
Also from c. 1300 as "order, sequence;" meanings "habitual or ordinary procedure" (as in course of nature) and "way of life, personal behavior or conduct" are from early 14c.
Most of the extended senses developed 14c. from notion of "line in which something moves" (as in hold one's course) or "stage through which something must pass in its progress." Thus, via the meaning "series or succession in a specified or systematized order" (mid-14c.) comes the senses of "succession of prescribed acts intended to bring about a particular result" (c. 1600, as in course of treatment) and the academic meaning "planned series of study" (c. 1600; in French from 14c.), also "that part of a meal which is served at once and separately" (late 14c.).
Meaning "the flow of a stream of water" is from mid-14c.; that of "channel in which water flows" is from 1660s. Courses was used for the flow of bodily fluids and 'humors' from late 14c.; specifically of menstrual flux from 1560s.
Adverbial phrase of course "by consequence, in regular or natural order" is attested from 1540s, literally "of the ordinary course;" earlier in the same sense was bi cours (c. 1300). Matter of course "something to be expected" is by 1739.
mid-15c., "to pursue, hound" (obsolete); 1530s, "to run, pass over," from course (n.). Related: Coursed; coursing.
large, swift horse," c. 1300, from Old French corsier "fast horse, charger," literally "fast-running," from Vulgar Latin *cursarius, from Latin cursus "a running" (see course (n.)).
early 15c., cors "ordinary" (modern spelling is from late 16c.), probably adjectival use of noun cours (see course (n.)). Originally referring to rough cloth for ordinary wear, the sense of "rude, vulgar, unpolished" developed by c. 1500 and that of "obscene" by 1711.
Perhaps via the notion of "in regular or natural order," hence "common, vulgar" (compare the development of mean (adj.), also ornery from ordinary). Or it might be via the clothing sense, and the notion of "wanting fineness of texture or elegance of form." Or both, and there might be also an influence, via metathesis, of French gros (see gross (adj.)), which underwent a similar sense development. Related: Coarsely; coarseness.
late Old English curs "a prayer that evil or harm befall one; consignment of a person to an evil fate," of uncertain origin. No similar word exists in Germanic, Romance, or Celtic. Middle English Compendium says probably from Latin cursus "course" (see course (n.)) in the Christian sense "set of daily liturgical prayers" extended to "set of imprecations" as in the sentence of the great curse, "the formula read in churches four times a year, setting forth the various offenses which entailed automatic excommunication of the offender; also, the excommunication so imposed." Connection with cross is unlikely. Another suggested source is Old French curuz "anger."
Meaning "the evil which has been invoked upon one, that which causes severe trouble" is from early 14c. Curses as a histrionic exclamation ("curses upon him/her/it") is by 1680s. The curse in 19c. was the sentence imposed upon Adam and Eve in Genesis iii.16-19. The slang sense "menstruation" is from 1930. Curse of Scotland, the 9 of diamonds in cards, is attested from 1791, but the signification is obscure.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to run."
It forms all or part of: car; career; cargo; caricature; cark; carpenter; carriage; carrier; carry; charabanc; charette; charge; chariot; concourse; concur; concurrent; corral; corridor; corsair; courant; courier; course; currency; current; curriculum; cursive; cursor; cursory; discharge; discourse; encharge; excursion; hussar; incur; intercourse; kraal; miscarry; occur; precursor; recourse; recur; succor.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek -khouros "running;" Latin currere "to run, move quickly;" Lithuanian karšiu, karšti "go quickly;"Old Irish and Middle Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot," Welsh carrog "torrent;" Old Norse horskr "swift."