1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Courier

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Courier (from the O. Fr. courier, modern courrier, from Lat. currere, to run), properly a running messenger, who carried dispatches and letters; a system of couriers, mounted or on foot, formed the beginnings of the modern post-office (see Post, and Postal Service). The despatches which pass between the foreign office and its representatives abroad, and which cannot be entrusted to the postal service or the telegraph, are carried by special couriers, styled, in the British service, King's Messengers. “Courier,” more particularly, is applied to a travelling attendant, whose duties are to arrange for the carrying of the luggage, obtaining of passports, settling of hotel accommodation, and generally to look to the comfort and facility of travel. The name “courier” and the similar word “courant” (Ital. coranto) have often been used as the title of a newspaper or periodical (see Newspapers); the Courier, founded in 1792, was for some time the leading London journal.