Cursor vs curser

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Cursor and curser are two words that are homophones, which are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings and origins. Many people are confused by the spelling of these two words. We will examine the definitions of the words cursor and curser, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A cursor is a symbol that functions as an indicator or identifying point on a computer screen. The cursor icon marks the point  on the screen at which the user may interact with the computer screen. A cursor is controlled by a mouse and keyboard. On the keyboard, the cursor may be controlled by a touch pad or by the arrow keys, including the down arrow, up arrow, left arrow and right arrow. With a computer mouse, the cursor is controlled by using the buttons. Some computer mouses have one button, others have two buttons. In any case, it is the mouse click, a right click or a left click, as well as a single click or double click that controls the cursor. In most cases, the cursor is an icon that is shaped like an arrow. This arrow automatically changes to a hand when it passes over a clickable link. When engaging a computer start screen on a desktop or laptop, or waiting for a program to boot up or to download, the cursor appears as an hourglass. Mouse cursors usually appear as an I-beam cursor when used in editing or typing. However, a user may choose to customize or personalize his mouse cursor, searching for free cursors or a custom cursor available as freeware online. There are cursors for Windows and cursors for Apple, depending on your operating system and system preferences. Custom cursors suit all types of user preferences, including flashing, blinking or animated icons. Pointing and clicking a mouse cursor allows one to navigate, highlight, drag, scroll and position text, providing ease of access. One can hardly imagine how to navigate a webpage on a browser without a cursor.  The mouse pointer or mouse cursor was invented by Douglas Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute and was first publicly demonstrated in 1968. During this demo, Engelbart is credited with displaying the rudimentary ideas of text editing, hypertext, video conferencing and windows. Engelbart also showed how to do all of this workstation computing with the first mouse.  The word cursor is derived from the Latin word cursor meaning runner. Cursor was chosen to mean a mouse icon because it was originally used to describe a part on a slide rule. This part had a hairline mark that was used to mark a certain point while making calculations on the slide rule.

Curser means someone who curses. It may refer to someone who is invoking a supernatural being in order to punish another person, but most often a curser is someone who uses offensive words in a fit of anger. Curser is also a common misspelling of the word cursor. The word curse is derived from the Old English word curs, meaning an invocation uttered in the hopes of bringing harm to someone.


He was in his home office and noticed that another computer terminal was turned on and the cursor was moving across the screen. (The New Haven Register)

“They taught me what love can look like with the click of a button, how something as simple as a blinking bar or cursor can pack emotion.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)

James Gips, a computer-science professor at Boston College, didn’t know exactly where he was heading in the early 1990s when he and two colleagues devised technology allowing people to control a computer cursor by moving their eyes. (The Wall Street Journal)

Perhaps it is the Irish brogue that permeates the characters of the O’Donnell clan, an unforgettable lineage descended from the unforgettable Red Hugh, “a master curser who starts cursing before he even gets out of bed.” (The Cannon Beach Gazette)