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[noun dis-kawrs, -kohrs, dis-kawrs, -kohrs; verb dis-kawrs, -kohrs] /noun ˈdɪs kɔrs, -koʊrs, dɪsˈkɔrs, -ˈkoʊrs; verb dɪsˈkɔrs, -ˈkoʊrs/
communication of thought by words; talk; conversation:
earnest and intelligent discourse.
a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.
Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.
verb (used without object), discoursed, discoursing.
to communicate thoughts orally; talk; converse.
to treat of a subject formally in speech or writing.
verb (used with object), discoursed, discoursing.
to utter or give forth (musical sounds).
Origin of discourse
1325-75; Middle English discours < Medieval Latin discursus (spelling by influence of Middle English cours course), Late Latin: conversation, Latin: a running to and fro, equivalent to discur(rere) to run about (dis- dis-1 + currere to run) + -sus for -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
discourser, noun
prediscourse, noun
1. discussion, colloquy, dialogue, chat, parley. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for discoursing
Historical Examples
  • One of the Austrian Generals was discoursing to the boy one day on the three greatest warriors of the world.

  • What you said yesterday is now known,—it is a text on which every one is discoursing.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • Nothing is more usual than to see passengers in a common conveyance in Scotland discoursing with their fingers.

    Wild Wales George Borrow
  • It was the picture of St. Remi, man, of which I have been discoursing.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Thus our original design of discoursing about the universe down to the creation of man is nearly completed.

    Timaeus Plato
  • Oh, to be well informed, discoursing at ease on every subject that a lady started!

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • The action is nearly null; the discoursing of the persons and of the poet endless.

  • He is discoursing in a high-flown vein, which may be compared to the 'dithyrambics of the Phaedrus.'

    Cratylus Plato
  • At any rate, he now rattled on like a little engine, surveying the people keenly and discoursing upon their faults.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • They had boundless leisure and the faculty of discoursing, not only with one another, but with the animals.

    Gorgias Plato
British Dictionary definitions for discoursing


noun (ˈdɪskɔːs; dɪsˈkɔːs)
verbal communication; talk; conversation
a formal treatment of a subject in speech or writing, such as a sermon or dissertation
a unit of text used by linguists for the analysis of linguistic phenomena that range over more than one sentence
(archaic) the ability to reason or the reasoning process
verb (dɪsˈkɔːs)
(intransitive; often foll by on or upon) to speak or write (about) formally and extensively
(intransitive) to hold a discussion
(transitive) (archaic) to give forth (music)
Derived Forms
discourser, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin discursus argument, from Latin: a running to and fro, from discurrere to run different ways, from dis-1 + currere to run
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for discoursing



late 14c., "process of understanding, reasoning, thought," from French discours, from Latin discursus "a running about," in Late Latin "conversation," from past participle stem of discurrere "run about," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + currere "to run" (see current (adj.)). Sense of "formal speech or writing" is first recorded 1580s.


1540s, from discourse (n.). Related: Discoursed; discoursing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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