1784, from French cursif (18c.), from Medieval Latin cursivus "running," from Latin cursus "a running," from past participle of currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). The notion is of "written with a running hand" (without raising the pen), originally as opposed to the older uncial hand. An older name for it was joining-hand (1580s) because the successive letters of each word are joined.
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