In The following lines from 'the Japanese Quince' by John Galsworthy :

he drew several deep breaths but they augmented rather than diminished the sensation - as of some sweetish liquor in course within him, together with a faint aching just above his heart.

I can't make sense of the part where it says "in course within him". I dont know what it means. I already looked up the definitions of 'course' in 2 different dictionaries so please cease from suggesting just that !

  • I suspect that even a century ago, Galsworthy's cited usage would more likely be seen as "dated, affected" (as opposed to "old-fashioned, poetic"). Today I'd say it's just archaic - not a usage the average learner would expect to ever encounter, and certainly not something you'd want to actually repeat in your own utterances. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


In this context, /in course within him/ means: coursing through him.

Course is a verb in English but here the writer has chosen the noun form instead.

Here are some examples of the word course as a verb: She had blue blood [royal] coursing through her veins.

The sweetish liquor was passing through him, was coursing through him, was flowing through him.

It means: flowing or going through him. Usually, one would use the verb but the noun is fine, too. That's why he's a famous writer.....

In course =going through him.

With the verb, to course through something: is either literally like a river or something that has a flow like blood flow in veins. Here, the stuff is going into his mouth and going through his body.....it is coursing through it....

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