Meaning of COURSE in English


I. course 1 S1 W1 /kɔːs $ kɔːrs/ BrE AmE noun

1 . of course

a) used to show that what you are saying is expected or already known and so not surprising:

You can pay by cheque, assuming of course you have a valid cheque card.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule.

b) ( also course informal ) spoken used to say yes or to give permission politely:

‘Can I have a word with you?’ ‘Of course.’

‘Can you give me a lift?’ ‘Course, no problem.’

c) ( also course informal ) spoken used to emphasize that what you are saying is true or correct:

Of course he’ll come!

well/but of course

Well of course I love you.

2 . of course not ( also course not informal ) spoken used to say very strongly that something is not true or correct:

He asked his father if it was true. ‘Of course not,’ Jack said.

‘You don’t mind if I call her?’ ‘No, course not.’

3 . EDUCATION [countable]

a) a series of lessons in a particular subject SYN class American English :

Andy’s doing a one-year journalism course.

course on/in

a course on architecture

I’m taking a course in graphic design.

b) British English a period of study in a particular subject, especially at university SYN program American English :

a degree course in photography

► Course is never followed by ‘of’. Do not say ‘a course of Business Studies’. Say ‘a course in Business Studies’.

4 . TIME [singular] a period of time or process during which something happens

during/in/throughout/over the course of something

During the course of our conversation, it emerged that Bob had been in prison.

Over the course of the next few years, the steel industry was reorganized.

in the course of doing something

In the course of researching customer needs, we discovered how few families have adequate life insurance.

5 . DEVELOPMENT [singular] the usual or natural way that something changes, develops, or is done

course of

forces that shape the course of evolution

Meeting Sally changed the whole course of his life.

in the normal/natural/ordinary course of events

In the normal course of events, a son would inherit from his father.

take/run its course (=develop in the usual way and reach a natural end)

Relax and let nature take its course.

It seems the boom in World Music has run its course.

Gorbachev changed the course of Soviet history.

6 . PLANS [singular, uncountable] the general plans someone has to achieve something or the general way something is happening:

They will go to any lengths to get the White House to change course.

He will steer a middle course between pacifism and revolution.

As long as the economy stays on course, the future looks rosy.

7 . ACTIONS [countable usually singular] an action or series of actions that you could take in order to deal with a particular situation:

I agreed that this was the only sensible course of action.

take/decide on a course

The judge took the only course of action open to him.

8 . DIRECTION [countable usually singular, uncountable] the planned direction taken by a boat or plane to reach a place:

The plane changed course to avoid the storm.

on/off course (=going in the right or wrong direction)

The ship was blown off course.

The aircraft was almost ten miles off course.

She tightened the mainsail while holding the course (=travelling in the same direction as planned) .

9 . on course likely to achieve something because you have already had some success

on course for

If he wins today, he’s on course for the Grand Slam.

on course to do something

We’re back on course to qualify for the championship.

10 . MEAL [countable] one of the separate parts of a meal

three-course/five-course etc meal

The ticket includes entry and a four-course meal.

first/second/main etc course

We had fish for the main course.

11 . SPORT [countable] an area of land or water where races are held, or an area of land designed for playing golf:

a particularly difficult course

an 18-hole course

⇨ ↑ assault course , ↑ obstacle course (1)

12 . MEDICAL TREATMENT [countable] especially British English an amount of medicine or medical treatment that you have regularly for a specific period of time

course of injections/drugs/treatment etc

a course of antibiotics

13 . in (the) course of time after some or enough time has passed SYN eventually :

She’ll get used to school in the course of time.

14 . RIVER [countable] the direction a river moves in:

The course of the water was shown by a line of trees.

15 . WALL [countable] a layer of bricks, stone etc in a wall:

a damp-proof course

⇨ as a matter of course at ↑ matter 1 (20), ⇨ par for the course at ↑ par (3), ⇨ stay the course at ↑ stay 1 (7), ⇨ in due course at ↑ due 1 (4)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ verbs

▪ take a course ( also do a course British English )

I decided to do a course in Italian.

▪ go on a course British English

My company wanted me to go on a course in management skills.

▪ pass/fail a course

If you pass the course, you get a diploma in psychology.

▪ apply for a course

The following year she applied for a nursing course.

▪ enrol on a course/put your name down for a course British English (=to arrange to officially join a course)

How about enrolling on a sailing course?

▪ attend a course formal (=take part in a course)

You’ll have to attend a course on how to deal with customers on the phone.

▪ withdraw from a course/drop out of a course (=leave it without finishing it)

She had to withdraw from the course because of illness.

▪ teach a course

She is teaching an introductory course in Russian.

▪ run a course

The course is run by the British Council.

▪ offer a course

The course is offered on a part-time basis.

▪ change (your) course (=at university or college)

Some students choose to change their course after the first year.


▪ a language/art/design etc course

The school runs ten-week language courses three times a year.

▪ a full-time/part-time course

There are also part-time courses for mature students.

▪ an elementary/intermediate/advanced course

an advanced course in art and design

▪ a one-year/two-year etc course

She did a one-year teacher training course.

▪ a short course

I did a short course on website design.

▪ an intensive course (=in which you learn a lot in a short time)

An intensive course in Russian is provided for those who do not already know the language.

▪ a crash course informal (=in which you learn a great deal in a very short time)

A husband was given a crash course in how to deliver a baby by a midwife on the phone.

▪ a training course

If you are offered the job, you will attend a two-week training course.

▪ a vocational course (=that trains you to do a particular job)

a vocational course in architecture

▪ a college/university course

students who fail their college courses

▪ a degree course British English ( also an undergraduate course ) (=a first course at a university, which usually lasts three years)

a three-year degree course

▪ a postgraduate course British English (=one you do after your first degree course)

▪ a correspondence course (=in which you work at home, sending work to a teacher by post)

▪ an introductory course (=for people who have never done a particular subject or activity before)

▪ an induction course (=that you do when you start a new job or position)

▪ a refresher course (=short and intended to teach you about new developments in a subject)

▪ a foundation course British English (=a general course that students do in the first year at some universities)

▪ a sandwich course British English (=that includes periods of work in industry or business)

▪ a tailor-made course (=one that is specially designed for someone)

a tailor-made course to help senior staff develop their negotiation skills

■ course + NOUN

▪ a course tutor BrE:

I discussed it with my course tutor.

▪ course material

Teachers are provided with course material.

▪ the course syllabus (=the plan of what is taught on a course)

The school has recently introduced a new course syllabus.


► Do not say ' make a course '. Say do or take a course .

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 5)

■ verbs

▪ something takes a course (=develops in a particular way)

He felt that events were taking the wrong course.

▪ something takes/runs its course (=develops in the usual or natural way)

There was nothing we could do except watch the illness run its course.

▪ change/alter the course of something

The incident changed the course of the election.

▪ influence/shape the course of something

The result of this battle influenced the whole course of the war.

▪ determine/decide the course of something

Don’t let chance decide the course of your career.

■ phrases

▪ in the normal/ordinary course of something

His bravery was far more than was required in the normal course of duty.

▪ the course of history/sb’s life etc

Changing conditions shape the course of evolution.

• • •


■ types of meal

▪ breakfast a meal that you eat in the morning

▪ brunch a meal that you eat in the late morning, instead of breakfast or lunch

▪ lunch a meal that you eat in the middle of the day

▪ tea British English a meal that you eat in the afternoon or evening

▪ dinner the main meal of the day, which most people eat in the evening

▪ supper a small meal that you eat in the evening, in British English; the main meal that you eat in the evening, in American English

▪ picnic a meal that you eat outdoors, consisting of food that you cooked or prepared earlier

▪ barbecue a meal that you cook outdoors over hot coals or wood and eat outdoors

▪ snack a small amount of food that is eaten between main meals or instead of a meal

▪ side dish food eaten with the main course, such as vegetables:

I’ll have the salad as a side dish.

▪ course one of the separate parts of a meal, such as the starter or the dessert:

a three-course meal

II. course 2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] literary if a liquid or electricity courses somewhere, it flows there quickly:

Tears coursed down his cheeks.

2 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] literary if a feeling courses through you, you feel it suddenly and strongly:

His smile sent waves of excitement coursing through her.

3 . [intransitive and transitive] to chase rabbits with dogs as a sport

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.