AskDefine | Define cursor

Dictionary Definition

cursor n : (computer science) indicator consisting of a movable spot of light (an icon) on a visual display; moving the cursor allows the user to point to commands or screen positions [syn: pointer]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin cursor, (runner), from cursus, perfect passive participle of currere, (run), + -or agentive suffix. Ultimately from PIE.



  1. A part of any of several scientific instruments that moves back and forth to indicate a position
  2. A moving icon or other representation of the position of the pointing device.
  3. An indicator, often a blinking line or bar, indicating where the next insertion or other edit will take place. Also referred to as "the caret".
  4. A reference to a row of data in a table, which moves from row to row as data is retrieved by way of it.


  • Finnish: osoitin, kursori
  • Italian: cursore (all)
  • Japanese: カーソル
  • Polish: kursor
  • Spanish: cursor

See also



cursor, cursoris m
  1. runner



  1. See english entry above.

Extensive Definition

A cursor is a moving placement or pointer that indicates a position. English-speakers have used the term with this meaning since the 16th century, for a wide variety of movable or mobile position-markers.
The literal meaning of the original Latin word cursor expresses the idea of someone or something that runs. Especially in the plural, Cursores 'runners', it was the name of certain functions, originally messengers. Cursor was also a Roman cognomen used by gens Papiria.
The word cursor may refer to any of the following:
  • Cursor was also the name of an early computer-based "magazine" that was distributed on cassette in the late 1970s. Each "issue" contained programs, utilities, and games and was a forerunner of today's computer magazines that come packaged with CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. Cursor was produced for users of the Commodore PET.
cursor in Spanish: Cursor (desambiguación)
cursor in French: Curseur
cursor in Korean: 커서
cursor in Malay (macrolanguage): Kursor
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