Definition of coarse in US English:



  • 1Rough or loose in texture or grain.

    ‘a coarse woolen cloth’
    • ‘Everyone always wants to touch the cloth because it looks so rough and coarse, but I can assure you, there is nothing so comfortable for the climate!’
    • ‘The carpet lining the boot was scratchy - it was black and coarse and smelled of old mud and car.’
    • ‘In his most characteristic works he carved directly in stone, preferring a hard stone with a coarse texture.’
    • ‘I can see the depths of his chestnut eyes, the coarse texture of his jet black hair, and the shape of his slightly muscular figure.’
    • ‘Objects jumped out in sharp relief: furniture, stairs, the grain of the wood on the cleanly swept floor, the coarse texture of rugs.’
    • ‘He was a rather tall boy with a head full of coarse black hair.’
    • ‘Oats can be used for hay; however, as with the winter cereals, oats are coarse, slow to dry, and often produce dusty hay.’
    • ‘They wore flannel shirts over loose-fitting pants fashioned of droguet, or drugget, a durable and coarse woolen fabric.’
    • ‘I sighed, moved to stroke the slightly coarse fur on her shoulder.’
    • ‘The coarse texture and mild flavour of the beans contrasted nicely with the saltiness of the smoked ham and the richness of the sausage.’
    • ‘Her voice was coarse as if she had been yelling all night.’
    • ‘His voice was coarse and scratchy, filled with malice and hunger.’
    • ‘Her coarse black hair was pulled into two cute pigtails, and she smiled shyly.’
    • ‘The material is coarse and rough, the fabric verdant and winter green.’
    • ‘He stood six feet tall and was covered in coarse black fur.’
    • ‘She stared at herself, and then pulled on her own clothes, feeling safer in the thick coarse fabrics, the rough knitted jumper.’
    • ‘Dulse is a seaweed native to the British Isles that has a reddish-brown color and coarse texture.’
    • ‘Today, refined wheat and rice have virtually displaced coarse grains and millets as the staple cereal.’
    • ‘We added a sack of sugar, a pouch of coarse black tobacco, and got his grudging acceptance.’
    • ‘It will also be advisable to reclassify coarse cereals as ‘nutritious grains’ in order to underline their desirable nutritive properties.’
    • ‘In fact it was rather ugly, with coarse brown scales and thick awkward looking fins.’
    rough, bristly, scratchy, prickly, hairy, shaggy, wiry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Made of large grains or particles.
      ‘dry, coarse sand’
      • ‘A little coarse salt, some ground pepper, and fire.’
      • ‘Work started on the site for the pergola today, with the foundations being levelled and the gaps between the stone being filled with coarse gravel ready to receive sand and slabs.’
      • ‘Beneath her she could feel the coarse grit of sand and pebbles, and in the air she could smell the ocean.’
      • ‘Blend this all together using the tips of your fingers, until it resembles coarse sand.’
      • ‘There are places where the sand is coarse and hard instead of soft, worn by years of the sea and her moods.’
      • ‘Water used for domestic purposes can be easily recycled by passing it through layers of charcoal and coarse sand.’
      • ‘For container gardening use a fast draining potting soil mixed with a little coarse sand.’
      • ‘If your soil is poorly drained, it may be necessary to put a little coarse sand at the base of the hole.’
      • ‘The coarse white sand of the sea floor contrasted with the pinkish walls with their splattering of yellow, orange and red anemones.’
      • ‘Some sift sand from millet, while others pound the grain into a coarse flour.’
      • ‘If the surface is slick, such as ceramic tile, sand it with coarse sandpaper.’
      • ‘Beneath these lies a floor of coarse granite sand and broken shell.’
      • ‘Just lay it on the ground in the cleared area, and fill it with a coarse grade of sand.’
      • ‘Lard in particular has a coarse, crystalline structure which makes a highly effective barrier.’
      • ‘For plants that need free drainage I add very coarse sand or fine gravel.’
      • ‘Just whiz some of the bread in a food processor until it becomes a pile of coarse crumbs.’
      • ‘Inhalation of coarse, ambient particulate matter may also contribute to the exacerbation of reactive airways disease.’
      • ‘Sprinkle the coarse salt over a sheet pan and arrange the clams on top.’
      • ‘A ragged, yellow-green plant had pushed its way through the coarse, black soil.’
    2. 1.2 (of grains or particles) large.
      • ‘Breton butter is notable since it's almost always flecked with large, coarse grains of salt that crunch when you bite into them.’
      • ‘Because of the fragmentation of nuclei and the disruption of cellular membranes, coarse granular particles are formed.’
      • ‘If the grains are too coarse the metal will exhibit a rough surface finish on machining and an ‘orange peel’ effect after pressing.’
      • ‘Sprinkle with coarse grain sugar; bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.’
      • ‘If a drop of the same ink is mixed with a drop of fresh blood, the carbon precipitates at once in the form of rather coarse black particles, assembling in small irregular clusters.’
      • ‘Grain orientation also plays a large part in determining toughness of alloys containing coarse particles.’
      • ‘This wider mix of particle sizes is important because how much sediment a river carries also depends on the relative mix of coarse and fine grains.’
      • ‘Grain size in the intrusion remains coarse right up to the contact with metasedimentary host rocks.’
      • ‘At a microscopic scale, at the surface of the deposit, coarse particles roll on a deposit of fine particles as a result of particle segregation.’
      • ‘The gold distribution in the ore is quite uneven - coarse grains with occasional nuggets are typical.’
      • ‘These observations explained the presence of the coarse suspended particles found in the present study.’
      • ‘He also needs to know the fineness, because coarse particles don't work.’
      • ‘Some biologic links between coarse particles and exacerbation of respiratory problems support these findings.’
      • ‘In this type of sediment, relatively coarse sand grains are mixed with silt and clay.’
      • ‘These coarse particles indicate that the decorator prepared his paint poorly.’
      • ‘The second heating refines the coarse grains and leaves the steel in a softened condition.’
    3. 1.3 (of a person's features) not elegantly formed or proportioned.
      • ‘The male figures here, as before, are represented as coarse, even brutal in feature.’
      • ‘His facial features were coarse, his hands were spade-like, and his feet were large.’
      • ‘From the servants I had heard that she was very coarse looking and rude.’
      heavy, broad, large, rough, rough-hewn, unrefined, inelegant
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 (of food or drink) of inferior quality.
      • ‘A Chinese hostess will usually say to her guests she has nothing to offer them but some coarse food and plain tea.’
      • ‘After days without respite from the coarse gruel and dairy produce that was the usual fare of a herdsman, I was more than ready for some good meat.’
      • ‘Elderly people often describe the hard days of the past with examples of how they struggled with inadequate and coarse food.’
      • ‘The food was meager, coarse bread and a single cup of water along with a small bowl of some kind of stew, long gone cold.’
      • ‘It was Julian, the urchin who had once served the coarse wine in The Oranges bar.’
      • ‘The stuff available is of poor quality - yellow rice that smells rancid; coarse sugar full of dirt, etc.’
      • ‘The Romans considered the leek a superior vegetable, unlike onions and garlic which were despised as coarse foods for the poor.’
      • ‘This is just as well; the coarse meat of a big, ‘wormy’ drum makes poor table fare.’
  • 2(of a person or their speech) rude, crude, or vulgar.

    • ‘The ogres, unable to see her, began to look around, still roaring and shouting in their coarse speech.’
    • ‘He was far too coarse and obvious to make that necessary, wasn't he?’
    • ‘A maid hurries towards the coarse fellow with the bowl of charcoal used as a pipe-lighter.’
    • ‘He could hear the low hum of voices and the occasional coarse laugh.’
    • ‘This created peer pressure and the cultivation of rough manners, coarse language and status symbols like the body tattoos.’
    • ‘The people whom he met, besides his own kin, were coarse in speech and thought.’
    • ‘The poet who was so courtly and gentle in his verse could be coarse and vulgar in his everyday speech.’
    • ‘You will see women lose their uniqueness - they will become as coarse, as brutish as men.’
    • ‘I heard some laughing, like a thick coarse chuckle.’
    • ‘She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse women of poor households.’
    • ‘He sees a woman much like himself, a coarse merchant's daughter who guffaws loudly at a dirty joke.’
    • ‘The missives were framed in particularly coarse language to make the point.’
    • ‘Or, you could argue that our language has become downright coarse, offensive and rude.’
    • ‘If the government were made up entirely of that coarse element - the violators, self-seekers, and flatterers - who form its core, it could not continue to exist.’
    • ‘There are no smiles of a summer night here as Mozart's warm human comedy degenerates into an ugly, coarse sex farce.’
    • ‘A crude culture makes a coarse people, and private refinement cannot long survive public excess.’
    • ‘Though she is coarse and stupid, she imagines she is cut out for a job in the movies.’
    • ‘These treasure hunters were coarse and greedy types whose only intention was plunder.’
    • ‘You are never coarse or vulgar, and people who display such traits offend you.’
    • ‘To such as these the everyday language of the factory workers will sound shocking, and their general behaviour appear coarse and vulgar, but it is not so in reality.’
    • ‘If there was one place that Angel detested it was the village, full of smelly houses and coarse women.’
    oafish, loutish, boorish, churlish, uncouth, rude, discourteous, impolite, ungentlemanly, unladylike, ill-mannered, uncivil, ill-bred, vulgar, common, rough, uncultured, uncivilized, crass, foul-mouthed
    vulgar, crude, rude, off colour, offensive, dirty, filthy, smutty, obscene, indelicate, improper, indecent, indecorous, unseemly, crass, tasteless, lewd, prurient
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘ordinary or inferior’): origin uncertain; until the 17th century identical in spelling with course, and possibly derived from the latter in the sense ‘ordinary manner’.