course (n.)

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.

Origin and meaning of course

course (v.)

mid-15c., "to pursue, hound" (obsolete); 1530s, "to run, pass over," from course (n.). Related: Coursed; coursing.

Origin and meaning of course

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of course from WordNet
course (n.)
education imparted in a series of lessons or meetings;
he took a course in basket weaving
Synonyms: course of study / course of instruction / class
course (n.)
a connected series of events or actions or developments;
the government took a firm course
Synonyms: line
course (n.)
general line of orientation;
the river takes a southern course
Synonyms: trend
course (n.)
a mode of action;
once a nation is embarked on a course of action it becomes extremely difficult for any retraction to take place
if you persist in that course you will surely fail
Synonyms: course of action
course (n.)
a line or route along which something travels or moves;
the course of the river
Synonyms: path / track
course (n.)
a body of students who are taught together;
Synonyms: class / form / grade
course (n.)
part of a meal served at one time;
she prepared a three course meal
course (n.)
(construction) a layer of masonry;
a course of bricks
Synonyms: row
course (n.)
facility consisting of a circumscribed area of land or water laid out for a sport;
the course had only nine holes
the course was less than a mile
course (v.)
move swiftly through or over;
course (v.)
move along, of liquids;
Synonyms: run / flow / feed
course (v.)
hunt with hounds;
He often courses hares
course (adv.)
as might be expected;
Synonyms: naturally / of course
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.