Definition of “course” - English Dictionary

“course” in British English

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uk /kɔːs/ us /kɔːrs/

course noun (CLASSES)

A1 [ C ] a set of classes or a plan of study on a particular subject, usually leading to an exam or qualification:

They're going away on a training course next week.
I'd like to do (US take) a writing course when I retire.
UK Tim did a three-year course in linguistics at Newcastle.

More examples

  • I did a course in creative writing.
  • Julie has signed up for courses on English and French this year.
  • There are still some vacancies for students in science and engineering courses.
  • The course comprises a class book, a practice book and an audio tape.
  • She's been offered a place on the nursing course.

course noun (SPORTS AREA)

B1 [ C ] an area of land or water used for a sports event:

a golf course/cross-country course
See also

More examples

  • He spends every weekend out on the golf course.
  • We walked the course the horses would have to run later.
  • The race was cancelled because the course was waterlogged.
  • He ran the course in less than an hour.
  • Flags mark the course the cyclists will be taking.

course noun (DEVELOPMENT)

C1 [ S ] the often gradual development of something, or the way something happens, or a way of doing something:

Did the scandal have any effect on the course of the election?
In the course of (= during) the interview it became clear that he was not the right person for the job.
What would be an appropriate course (of action) in such a situation?
If our rivals are spending more on advertising, we'll have to follow the same course.
The defendants are also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
in the course of time UK

after a period of time:

I assume they plan to have children in the course of time.
in/with the course of time

UK gradually:

With the course of time, I've learned to live with my disability.

More examples

  • Once we have committed to this course of action there is no going back.
  • We came up against a lot of problems in the course of building our extension.
  • In the course of history, love has driven men and women to strange extremes.
  • I was grateful for his letter which hastened the course of the enquiry.
  • He has been accused of obstructing the course of justice .

course noun (DIRECTION)

C1 [ C usually singular, U ] the direction in which a vehicle, especially an aircraft, spacecraft, or ship, moves, or the path along which a river flows:

The pilot avoided a collision by changing course.
Changing the course of the river would cause serious environmental damage to the whole valley.
figurative The debate completely changed course after Liz made her speech.
on course

likely to happen, or likely to succeed as planned:

Because of the recession, we're on course for/to have record unemployment levels.

More examples

  • All attempts at diplomacy have broken down and the two states now appear to be on a collision course.
  • He drove in an erratic course down the road.
  • Some of the frontier between Germany and Poland follows the course of the river Oder
  • The ship held its course.
  • Most parents try to steer a middle course between imposing very strict discipline and letting their kids run wild.

course noun (MEAL)

A2 [ C ] a part of a meal that is served separately from the other parts:

a four-course lunch
A traditional British main course consists of a meat dish with potatoes and other vegetables.

More examples

  • If you make the main course, I'll make a dessert.
  • I've only eaten one course and I'm already full.
  • By the time the fourth course was served, I was stuffed to the gills.
  • The average cost of a full three-course meal - appetizer, main course and dessert - including tip and a modest wine is about $25.
  • I had salmon for my main course.

courseverb [ I usually + adv/prep ]

uk /kɔːs/ us /kɔːrs/ formal

to flow quickly or in large amounts:

Tears were coursing down his cheeks.
You could almost hear the blood coursing through her veins as she passed the finishing line.
figurative A new wave of idealism is coursing through our schools.

(Definition of “course” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“course” in American English

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coursenoun [ C ]

us /kɔrs, koʊrs/

course noun [ C ] (DIRECTION)

the particular path something such as an aircraft or ship takes as it moves, or the path along which a river flows:

A southern course will take our flight over Texas.
The ship was blown off course (= away from its course) in the storm.

course noun [ C ] (DEVELOPMENT)

the often gradual development of something, or the way something happens, or a way of doing something:

He always chats with waiters and waitresses and becomes their best friends during the course of dinner.

course noun [ C ] (CLASSES)

a set of classes in a subject at a school or university:

He taught a course in film history at Harvard University.

course noun [ C ] (SPORTS AREA)

an area used for a sports event:

a golf course

course noun [ C ] (MEAL)

a part of a meal served separately from the other parts:

the meat course

(Definition of “course” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“course” in Business English

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coursenoun [ C ]

uk /kɔːs/ us

a series of lessons on a particular subject:

course in/on sth We provide courses in commerce, finance, and basic marketing.
During the course, students will learn traditional business and project management skills.
run/teach/offer a course My company offers a lot of in-house training courses.
enrol on a course He has enrolled on a book-keeping course.
be on/go on/do a course Going on a course is a great way of learning in a focused environment.
take a course (in sth) She decided to take a course in recruitment practice to expand her career.
pass/fail/complete a course Students who fail to complete the course will not be awarded a certificate.
a course runs/takes place Our courses run between September and May.
a two-year/part-time/full-time, etc. course a three-day ICT course
an MBA/a management course
a degree/distance-learning course

(Definition of “course” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)