[ noun dis-kawrs, -kohrs, dis-kawrs, -kohrs; verb dis-kawrs, -kohrs ]
See synonyms for: discoursediscourser on Thesaurus.com

  1. communication of thought by words; talk; conversation: earnest and intelligent discourse.

  2. a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.

  1. Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.

verb (used without object),dis·coursed, dis·cours·ing.
  1. to communicate thoughts orally; talk; converse.

  2. to treat of a subject formally in speech or writing.

verb (used with object),dis·coursed, dis·cours·ing.
  1. to utter or give forth (musical sounds).

Origin of discourse

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English discours, from Medieval Latin discursus (spelling by influence of Middle English cours “course”), Late Latin: “conversation,” Latin: “a run back and forth,” noun use of past participle of discurrere “to run about,” from dis- dis-1 + currere “to run”

Other words for discourse

Other words from discourse

  • dis·cours·er, noun
  • pre·dis·course, noun

Words Nearby discourse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use discourse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discourse


noun(ˈdɪskɔːs, dɪsˈkɔːs)
  1. verbal communication; talk; conversation

  2. a formal treatment of a subject in speech or writing, such as a sermon or dissertation

  1. a unit of text used by linguists for the analysis of linguistic phenomena that range over more than one sentence

  2. archaic the ability to reason or the reasoning process

  1. (intr; often foll by on or upon) to speak or write (about) formally and extensively

  2. (intr) to hold a discussion

  1. (tr) archaic to give forth (music)

Origin of discourse

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

Derived forms of discourse

  • discourser, noun

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