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[kur-suh-ree] /ˈkɜr sə ri/
going rapidly over something, without noticing details; hasty; superficial:
a cursory glance at a newspaper article.
Origin of cursory
1595-1605; < Late Latin cursōrius running, equivalent to Latin cur(rere) to run + -sōrius, for -tōrius -tory1; cf. course
Related forms
cursorily, adverb
cursoriness, noun
quick, brief, passing, haphazard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cursory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps the disappointment of my cursory reconnoiter showed itself in my expression.

    The Portal of Dreams Charles Neville Buck
  • He who writes for cursory reading is wise if he writes cursorily.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • The tragic story is too intricate to refer to here in more than a cursory manner.

  • To give more than a cursory description of our impressions is impossible.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • The most cursory study of her institutions and social, economic, and political life demonstrate that fact.

    The Framework of Home Rule Erskine Childers
British Dictionary definitions for cursory


hasty and usually superficial; quick: a cursory check
Derived Forms
cursorily, adverb
cursoriness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin cursōrius of running, from Latin cursus a course, from currere to run
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cursory

c.1600, from Middle French cursoire "rapid," from Late Latin cursorius "hasty, of a race or running," from Latin curs-, past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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