Cursory vs curse

Cursory and curse are two words that seem as if they should be related, but they are not. We will examine the differing definitions of cursory and curse, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Cursory describes something that is done in haste, something that is done superficially and does not involve details or deep thought. Cursory is an adjective, related words are cursorily, cursoriness. The word cursory is derived from the Latin word cursorius which means fast, as in running a race course.

A curse is an invocation in order to bring down a punishment or harm upon someone. Curse may also refer to offensive language, usually blasphemous, sexual or scatological. Curse is used as a noun or a verb, related words are curses, cursed, cursing. The word curse is derived from the Old English word curs, meaning an invocation uttered in the hopes of bringing harm to someone.


Deficient staffing, cursory assessments and prolonged stays in solitary confinement have led to “current and ongoing violations of federal rights,” wrote corrections health care expert Dr. Kathryn Burns. (The Sun Sentinel)

Even a cursory reading of Xenophon’s Cyropedia (meaning, The Education of Cyrus), proves that the Persian king, living six centuries before Jesus, practised many ethical principles Jesus taught after him. (The New Indian Express)

Clan elders chairman Joel Kiptunoi said elders resorted to cursing the cartels after petitions to state agencies to revoke title deeds and revert back the land to the community failed. (The Star, Kenya)

Witnesses say the white female approached a group of kids outside First Pentecostal Church of McLain and began cursing and threatening them. (The Greene County Herald)

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