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Adjectival use of course, diverging therefrom in spelling in the 18th century. The sense developed from '(following) the usual course' (cf. of course) to 'ordinary, common' to 'lacking refinement', with 'not fine, granular' arising from its application to cloth. Compare the development of mean.



coarse (comparative coarser, superlative coarsest)

  1. Composed of large parts or particles; of inferior quality or appearance; not fine in material or close in texture.
  2. Lacking refinement, taste or delicacy.
    coarse manners
    coarse language
    • 1791, John Walker, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary [] [1], London: Sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinſon, Paternoſter Row; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, OCLC 37805775, page 211:
      ☞ This word [earth] is liable to a coarſe vulgar pronunciation, as if written Urth; []

Usage notesEdit

  • Nouns to which "coarse" is often applied: language, particle, grain, graining, sand, powder, gravel, grit, salt, gold, thread, hair, cloth, grid, aggregate, texture, grass, fish, angling, fishing.



  • (of inferior quality): fine

Derived termsEdit


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Further readingEdit