Definition of course noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; kɔːrs


1 [countable] course (in/on something) a series of lessons or lectures on a particular subjecta French/chemistry, etc. courseto take/do a course in art and designto go on a management training courseThe college runs specialist language courses. see also correspondence course, crash adjective, foundation course, induction course, refresher course, sandwich course2 [countable] (especially British English) a period of study at a college or university that leads to an exam or a qualificationa degree coursea two-year postgraduate course leading to a master's degree compare programme n. (5)


3 [uncountable, countable, usually singular] a direction or route followed by a ship or an aircraftThe plane was on/off course(= going/not going in the right direction).He radioed the pilot to change course.They set a course for the islands.4 [countable, usually singular] the general direction in which somebody's ideas or actions are movingThe president appears likely to change course on some key issues.Politicians are often obliged to steer a course between incompatible interests.


5 (also course of action) [countable] a way of acting in or dealing with a particular situationThere are various courses open to us.What course of action would you recommend?The wisest course would be to say nothing.


6 [singular] course of something the way something develops or should developan event that changed the course of historyThe unexpected course of events aroused considerable alarm.

part of meal

7 [countable] any of the separate parts of a meala four-course dinnerThe main course was roast duck.

for golf

8 [countable] = golf courseHe set a new course record.

for races

9 [countable] an area of land or water where races are heldShe was overtaken on the last stretch of the course. see also assault course, racecourse

of river

10 [countable, usually singular] the direction a river moves inThe path follows the course of the river.

medical treatment

11 [countable] course (of something) a series of medical treatments, pills, etcto prescribe a course of antibioticsWhen taking antibiotics it is important to finish the course.

in wall

12 [countable] a continuous layer of bricks, stone, etc. in a wallA new damp-proof course could cost £1000 or more.

in course of something

(formal) going through a particular processThe new textbook is in course of preparation.

in/over the course of…

(used with expressions for periods of time) duringHe's seen many changes in the course of his long life.The company faces major challenges over the course of the next few years.

in the course of time

when enough time has passed
It is possible that in the course of time a cure for cancer will be found.

in the ordinary, normal, etc. course of events, things, etc.

as things usually happen
In the normal course of things we would not treat her disappearance as suspicious.

of course

1 (also course) (informal) used to emphasize that what you are saying is true or correct‘Don't you like my mother?’ ‘Of course I do!’‘Will you be there?’ ‘Course I will.’2 (also course) (informal) used as a polite way of giving somebody permission to do something‘Can I come, too?’ ‘Course you can.’‘Can I have one of those pens?’ ‘Of course—help yourself.’3 (informal) used as a polite way of agreeing with what somebody has just said‘I did all I could to help.’ ‘Of course,’ he murmured gently.4 used to show that what you are saying is not surprising or is generally known or acceptedBen, of course, was the last to arrive.Of course, there are other ways of doing this.

of course not

(also course not) used to emphasize the fact that you are saying ‘no’‘Are you going?’ ‘Of course not.’‘Do you mind?’ ‘No, of course not.’

on course for something/to do something

likely to achieve or do something because you have already started to do it
The American economy is on course for higher inflation than Britain by the end of the year.Victory in Saturday's match will put them on course to qualify for the European championships.

run/take its course

to develop in the usual way and come to the usual end
When her tears had run their course, she felt calmer and more in control.With minor ailments the best thing is often to let nature take its course.
more at be on a collision course(with somebody/something) at collision, in due course at due adjective, horses for courses at horse n., a matter of course at matter n., a middle course at middle adjective, be par for the course at par, pervert the course of justice at pervert v., stay the course at stay v.Usage noteUsage note: EducationLearningacquire/get/lack (an) education/training/(British English) (some) qualificationsreceive/provide somebody with training/tuitiondevelop/design/plan a curriculum/(especially British English) course/(North American English) program/syllabusgive/go to/attend a class/lesson/lecture/seminarhold/run/conduct a class/seminar/workshopsign up for/take a course/classes/lessonsSchoolgo to/start preschool/kindergarten/nursery schoolbe in the first, second, etc. (North American English) grade/(especially British English) year (at school)study/take/drop history/chemistry/German, etc.(British English) leave/finish/drop out of/(North American English) quit school(North American English) graduate high school/collegeProblems at schoolbe the victim/target of bullying(British English) play truant from/(both British English, informal) bunk off/skive off school (= not go to school when you should)(both especially North American English) skip/cut class/school(British English) cheat in/(North American English) cheat on an exam/a testget/be given a detention (for doing something)be expelled from/be suspended from schoolWork and examsdo your homework/(British English) revision/a project on somethingwork on/write/do/submit an essay/a dissertation/a thesis/an assignment/(North American English) a paperfinish/complete your dissertation/thesis/studies/courseworkhand in/(North American English) turn in your homework/essay/assignment/paperstudy/prepare/(British English) revise/(North American English) review/(North American English, informal) cram for a test/an examtake/(both British English) do/sit a test/an exam(especially British English) mark/(especially North American English) grade homework/a test(British English) do well in/(North American English) do well on/(informal, especially North American English) ace a test/an exampass/fail/(informal, especially North American English) flunk a test/an exam/a class/a course/a subjectUniversityapply to/get into/go to/start college/(British English) universityleave/graduate from law school/college/(British English) university (with a degree in computer science)study for/take/(British English) do/complete a law degree/a degree in physics(both North American English) major/minor in biology/philosophyearn/receive/be awarded/get/have/hold a master's degree/a bachelor's degree/a PhD in economicsUsage noteUsage note: RestaurantsEating outeat (lunch/dinner)/dine/meet at/in a restaurantgo (out)/take somebody (out) for lunch/dinner/a mealhave a meal with somebodymake/have a reservation (in/under the name of Yamada)reserve/(especially British English) book a table for sixask for/request a table for two/a table by the windowIn the restaurantwait to be seatedshow somebody to their tablesit in the corner/by the window/at the bar/at the counterhand somebody/give somebody the menu/wine listopen/read/study/peruse the menuthe restaurant has a three-course set menu/a children's menu/an extensive wine listtaste/sample/try the winethe waiter takes your orderorder/choose/have the soup of the day/one of the specials/the house (British English) speciality/(especially North American English) specialtyserve/finish the first course/the starter/the main course/dessert/coffeecomplain about the food/the service/your mealenjoy your mealPayingpay/ask for (especially British English) the bill/(North American English) the checkpay for/treat somebody to dinner/lunch/the mealservice is (not) includedgive somebody/leave (somebody) a tipUsage noteUsage note: neverthelessConceding a point and making a counter-argumentWhile the film is undoubtedly too long, it is nevertheless an intriguing piece of cinema.It can be argued that the movie is too long. It is nonetheless an intriguing piece of cinema.The film is undoubtedly too long.Still, it is an intriguing piece of cinema.Of course, huge chunks of the book have been sacrificed in order to make a two-hour movie, but it is nevertheless a successful piece of storytelling.Critics are wrong to argue that the film's plot is too complicated.Certainly there are a couple of major twists, but audiences will have no difficulty following them.It is true that you cannot make a good movie without a good script, but it is equally true that a talented director can make a good script into an excellent film.It remains to be seen whether these two movies herald a new era of westerns, but there is no doubt that they represent welcome additions to the genre. Language Banks at argue, however, impersonal, opinionUsage noteUsage note: course / programIn British Englishcourse is used for a series of lessons or lectures on a particular subject:a physics course a course of ten lectures. In North American English you would say:a physics course/program a program of ten lectures.In North American English a course is usually an individual unit that forms part of a longer period of study:I have to take a physics course/class. This is called a module in Britain, especially in a college or university.In British Englishcourse can also mean a period of study at a college or university:a two-year college course. In North American English you would say:a two-year college program.Usage noteUsage note: of courseOf course is often used to show that what you are saying is not surprising or is generally known or accepted. For this reason, and because it can be difficult to get the right intonation, you may not sound polite if you use of course or of course not when you answer a request for information or permission. It can be safer to use a different word or phrase.‘Is this the right room for the English class?’ ‘Yes, it is.’ ‘Of course.’ or ‘Of course it is.’‘Can I borrow your dictionary?’ ‘Certainly.’ (formal) ‘Sure.’ (informal)‘Do you mind if I borrow your dictionary?’ ‘Not at all.’ ‘Go ahead.’ (informal).If you say of course/of course not it may sound as though you think the answer to the question is obvious and that the person should not ask. In the same way, of course should not be used as a reply to a statement of fact or when someone expresses an opinion:‘It’s a lovely day.’ ‘It certainly is.’/‘Yes it is.’ ‘Of course it is.’ ‘I think you’ll enjoy that play.’ ‘I’m sure I will.’/‘Yes, it sounds really good.’ ‘Of course.’