Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Verbal expression in speech or writing.
  • n. Verbal exchange; conversation.
  • n. A formal, lengthy discussion of a subject, either written or spoken.
  • n. Archaic The process or power of reasoning.
  • intransitive v. To speak or write formally and at length. See Synonyms at speak.
  • intransitive v. To engage in conversation or discussion; converse.
  • transitive v. Archaic To narrate or discuss.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Verbal exchange, conversation.
  • n. Expression in words, either speech or writing.
  • n. A formal lengthy exposition of some subject, either spoken or written.
  • n. Any rational expression, reason.
  • n. An institutionalized way of thinking, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic (after Michel Foucault).
  • v. To engage in discussion or conversation; to converse.
  • v. To write or speak formally and at length.
  • v. (transitive) To debate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The power of the mind to reason or infer by running, as it were, from one fact or reason to another, and deriving a conclusion; an exercise or act of this power; reasoning; range of reasoning faculty.
  • n. Conversation; talk.
  • n. The art and manner of speaking and conversing.
  • n. Consecutive speech, either written or unwritten, on a given line of thought; speech; treatise; dissertation; sermon, etc..
  • n. Dealing; transaction.
  • intransitive v. To exercise reason; to employ the mind in judging and inferring; to reason.
  • intransitive v. To express one's self in oral discourse; to expose one's views; to talk in a continuous or formal manner; to hold forth; to speak; to converse.
  • intransitive v. To relate something; to tell.
  • intransitive v. To treat of something in writing and formally.
  • transitive v. To treat of; to expose or set forth in language.
  • transitive v. To utter or give forth; to speak.
  • transitive v. To talk to; to confer with.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hold discourse; communicate thoughts or ideas orally, especially in a formal manner; treat in a set manner; hold forth; expatiate; converse: as, to discourse on the properties of the circle; the preacher discoursed on the nature and effect of faith.
  • To treat of or discuss a subject in a formal manner in writing.
  • To narrate; give a relation; tell.
  • To reason; argue from premises to consequences.
  • To treat of; talk over; discuss.
  • To utter or give forth.
  • To talk or confer with.
  • n. A running over a subject in speech; hence, a communication of thoughts by words; expression of ideas; mutual intercourse; talk; conversation.
  • n. A running over in the mind of premises and deducing of conclusions; the exercise of, or an act of exercising, the logical or reasoning faculty; hence, the power of reasoning from premises; rationality.
  • n. A formal discussion or treatment of a subjeet; a dissertation, treatise, homily, sermon, or the like: as, the discourse of Plutarch on garrulity, of Cicero on old age; an eloquent discourse.
  • n. Debate; contention; strife.
  • n. Intercourse; dealing; transaction.
  • n. That sort of mental operation, performed by one person or by several, in which a line of thought is followed out.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to consider or examine in speech or writing
  • n. extended verbal expression in speech or writing
  • v. talk at length and formally about a topic
  • n. an address of a religious nature (usually delivered during a church service)
  • n. an extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic
  • v. carry on a conversation

Etymologies

Middle English discours, process of reasoning, from Medieval Latin discursus, from Latin, a running about, from past participle of discurrere, to run about : dis-, apart; see dis- + currere, to run; see kers- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Either from French discours, or a direct alteration of Late Latin discursus ("the act of running about") , itself from discurrō ("run about"), from dis- ("apart") + currō ("run"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The title discourse furnishes a central theme to which those following stand in relation.

    Modern Religious Cults and Movements

  • Critically, the crux of the entire process in the development of these works was for Ravi the concept of Sannidhi which in traditional Indian aesthetic discourse translates as 'proximity' or 'close by' or 'in the presence'.

    The Hindu - Front Page

  • Her book, which first appeared in French in 2008, combines three strands: a study of events; a detailed account of the social, economic, religious, cultural, political and administrative context of 12th-century Syria and Egypt; and an unrelenting investigation of what she calls the "discourse."

    The Crusaders' Favorite Muslim

  • How it shapes our discourse is a worthy topic for consideration.

    I'd Rather Let The Flowers Keep Doing What They Do Best

  • All that comes from debasing the discourse is a spoiled public forum.

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: January 11, 2010

  • By the way, using a script exotic to a discourse is a gratuitous and low form of argument.

    Any experience with San Francisco consulate?

  • I am the bread of life -- Henceforth the discourse is all in the first person, "I," "Me," which occur in one form or other, as Stier reckons, thirty-five times. he that cometh to me -- to obtain what the soul craves, and as the only all-sufficient and ordained source of supply. hunger ... thirst -- shall have conscious and abiding satisfaction.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Like Foucault, Kittler diagnosed the present through what he called discourse analysis - the excavation of the underlying structure of human practices.

    The Guardian World News

  • Severing political discussion from decision and action, however, focuses the locus of Habermasian politics strictly on discussion and what he calls a discourse theory of democracy.

    LeverWealth

  • McD reminds me of cruelly ridiculing your spouse at a cocktail party just for a cheap laugh; tells all around you reams abut your character and integrity; what a putz; and -- whose payroll is he on? ours? guess loyality is relative; sell out your country and troops and call it "discourse" or "free speech" or "constructive criticism" so you can sleep at night. libs will surely be our collective death;

    Sound Politics: Congressman McDermott Has Interesting Associates

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Comments

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  • this course Off Corsica, of course

    March 23, 2012

  • "A formal discussion or treatment of a subjeet; a dissertation, treatise, homily, sermon, or the like: as, the discourse of Plutarch on garrulity, of Cicero on old age; an eloquent discourse."

    -CD&C

    March 23, 2012

  • All that is written and spoken and all that invites dialogue or conversation. (Rosenau, 1992)

    October 10, 2010