American English

Definition of course noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] course (in/on something) a series of lessons or lectures on a particular subject a French/chemistry, etc. course to take a course in art and design The college runs specialist language courses. Topic CollocationsEducationlearning acquire/get/lack experience/training/(an) education receive/provide somebody with training develop/design/plan a curriculum/course/program/syllabus give/go to/attend a class/lesson/lecture/seminar hold/run/conduct a class/seminar/workshop moderate/lead/facilitate a discussion sign up for/take a course/classes/lessonsschool go to/start preschool/kindergarten/nursery school be in the first, second, etc. grade (at school) study/take/drop history/chemistry/German, etc. finish/drop out of/quit school graduate from high school/collegeproblems at school be the victim/target of bullying/teasing skip/cut/ (informal) ditch class/school cheat on an exam/a test get/be given a detention (for doing something) be expelled from/be suspended from schoolwork and exams do your homework/a project on something work on/write/do/submit an essay/a dissertation/a thesis/an assignment/a paper finish/complete your dissertation/thesis/studies hand in/turn in your homework/essay/assignment/paper study/prepare/review/ (informal) cram for a test/an exam take/ (formal) sit for a test/an exam grade homework/a test do well on/ (informal) ace a test/an exam pass/fail/ (informal) flunk a test/an exam/a class/a course/a subjectcollege apply to/get into/go to/start college leave/graduate from college (with a degree in computer science)/law school study for/work towards a law degree/a degree in physics major/minor in biology/philosophy earn/receive/be awarded/get/have/hold a master's degree/a bachelor's degree/a Ph.D. in economics see also correspondence course, refresher course
  2. direction
  3. 2[uncountable, countable, usually singular] a direction or route followed by a ship or an aircraft The 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. 3[countable, usually singular] the general direction in which someone's ideas or actions are moving The president appears likely to change course on some key issues. Politicians are often obliged to steer a course between incompatible interests.
  5. action
  6. 4(also course of action) [countable] a way of acting in or dealing with a particular situation There are various courses open to us. What course of action would you recommend? The wisest course would be to say nothing.
  7. development
  8. 5[singular] course of something the way something develops or should develop an event that changed the course of history The unexpected course of events aroused considerable alarm.
  9. part of meal
  10. 6[countable] any of the separate parts of a meal a four-course dinner The main course was roast duck. Topic CollocationsRestaurantseating out eat (lunch/dinner)/dine/meet at/in a restaurant go (out)/take somebody (out) for lunch/dinner/a meal have a meal with somebody make/have a reservation (in/under the name of Baker) reserve a table for six ask for/request a table for two/a table by the windowin the restaurant wait to be seated show somebody to their table sit in the corner/by the window/at the bar/at the counter hand somebody/give somebody the menu/wine list open/read/study/peruse the menu the restaurant has a three-course set menu/a children's menu/an extensive wine list taste/sample/try the wine the waiter takes your order order/choose/have the soup of the day/one of the specials/the house specialty serve/finish the appetizers/the first course/the main course/dessert/coffee complain about the food/the service/your meal enjoy your mealpaying pay/ask for the check/the bill pay for/treat somebody to dinner/lunch/the meal a gratuity/a service charge is (not) included give somebody/leave (somebody) a tip
  11. for golf
  12. 7[countable] = golf course He set a new course record.
  13. for races
  14. 8[countable] an area of land or water where races are held She was overtaken on the last stretch of the course. see also obstacle course, racecourse
  15. of river
  16. 9[countable, usually singular] the direction a river moves in The path follows the course of the river.
  17. medical treatment
  18. 10[countable] course (of something) a series of medical treatments, pills, etc. to prescribe a course of antibiotics When taking antibiotics it is important to finish the course.
  19. More Aboutof course Of 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 have asked. 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.”Idioms
      be on a collision course (with somebody/something)
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    1. 1to be in a situation that is almost certain to cause a disagreement or argument I was on a collision course with my boss over the sales figures.
    2. 2to be moving in a direction in which it is likely that you will crash into someone or something A giant iceberg was on a collision course with the ship.
    be par for the course (disapproving)
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    to be just what you would expect to happen or expect someone to do in a particular situation synonym norm Starting early and working long hours is par for the course in this job.
    in course of something (formal)
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    going through a particular process The new textbook is in course of preparation.
    in/over the course of…
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    (used with expressions for periods of time) during He'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
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    when enough time has passed synonym eventually It is possible that in the course of time a cure for cancer will be found.
    in due course
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    at the right time and not before Your request will be dealt with in due course.
    in the ordinary, normal, etc. course of events, things, etc.
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    as things usually happen synonym normally In the normal course of things we would not treat her disappearance as suspicious.
    (as) a matter of course
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    (as) the usual and correct thing to do We always check people's addresses as a matter of course.
    (steer, take, etc.) a middle course, (find, etc.) a/the middle way
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    (to take/find) an acceptable course of action that avoids two extreme positions
    1. 1(informal course) 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. 2(informal course) used as a polite way of giving someone permission to do something “Can I come, too?” “Course you can.” “Can I have one of those pens?” “Of course—help yourself.”
    3. 3(informal) used as a polite way of agreeing with what someone has just said “I did all I could to help.” “Of course,” he murmured gently.
    4. 4used to show that what you are saying is not surprising or is generally known or accepted Ben, of course, was the last to arrive. Of course, there are other ways of doing this. Language Bankneverthelessconceding a point and making a counterargument While the movie is undoubtedly too long, it is nevertheless an intriguing work of art. It can be argued that the movie is too long. It is nonetheless an intriguing work of art. The movie is undoubtedly too long. Still, it is an intriguing work of art. 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 movie'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 movie. 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.
    of course not (informal course not)
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    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
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    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
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    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.
    stay the course
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    to continue doing something until it has finished or been completed, even though it is difficult Very few of the trainees have stayed the course.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: course