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Webster 1913 Edition


Discourse

Dis-course′

,
Noun.
[L.
discursus
a running to and fro, discourse, fr.
discurrere
,
discursum
, to run to and fro, to discourse;
dis-
+
currere
to run: cf. F.
discours
. See
Course
.]
1.
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.
[Obs.]
Difficult, strange, and harsh to the
discourses
of natural reason.
South.
Sure he that made us with such large
discourse
,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unused.
Shakespeare
2.
Conversation; talk.
In their
discourses
after supper.
Shakespeare
Filling the head with variety of thoughts, and the mouth with copious
discourse
.
Locke.
3.
The art and manner of speaking and conversing.
Of excellent breeding, admirable
discourse
.
Shakespeare
4.
Consecutive speech, either written or unwritten, on a given line of thought; speech; treatise; dissertation; sermon, etc.;
as, the preacher gave us a long
discourse
on duty
.
5.
Dealing; transaction.
[Obs.]
Good Captain Bessus, tell us the
discourse

Betwixt Tigranes and our king, and how
We got the victory.
Beau. & Fl.

Dis-course′

,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Discoursed
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Discoursing
.]
1.
To exercise reason; to employ the mind in judging and inferring; to reason.
[Obs.]
“Have sense or can discourse.”
Dryden.
2.
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.
Bid me
discourse
, I will enchant thine ear.
Shakespeare
3.
To relate something; to tell.
Shak.
4.
To treat of something in writing and formally.

Dis-course′

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To treat of; to expose or set forth in language.
[Obs.]
The life of William Tyndale . . . is sufficiently and at large
discoursed
in the book.
Foxe.
2.
To utter or give forth; to speak.
It will
discourse
most eloquent music.
Shakespeare
3.
To talk to; to confer with.
[Obs.]
I have spoken to my brother, who is the patron, to
discourse
the minister about it.
Evelyn.

Webster 1828 Edition


Discourse

DISCOURSE

,
Noun.
Discors. [L., to run.]
1.
The act of the undertaking, by which it passes from premises to consequences; the act which connects propositions, and deduces conclusions from them. [This sense is now obsolete.]
2.
Literally, a running over a subject in speech; hence, a communication of thoughts by words, either to individuals, to companies, or to public assemblies. Discourse to an individual or to a small company is called conversation or talk; mutual interchange or thoughts; mutual intercourse of language. It is applied to the familiar communication of thoughts by an individual, or to the mutual communication of two or more. We say, I was pleased with his discourse, and he heard our discourse.
The vanquished party with the victors joined, nor wanted sweet discourse, the banquet of the mind.
3.
Effusion of language; speech.
4.
A written treatise; a formal dissertation; as the discourse of Plutarch on garrulity; of Cicero on old age.
5.
A sermon, uttered or written. We say, an extemporaneous discourse, or a written discourse.

DISCOURSE

,
Verb.
I.
1.
To talk; to converse; to but it expresses rather more formality than talk. He discoursed with us an hour on the events of the war. We discoursed together on our mutual concerns.
2.
To communicate thoughts or ideas in a formal manner; to treat upon in a solemn, set manner; as, to discourse on the properties of the circle; the preacher discoursed on the nature and effects of faith.
3.
To reason; to pass from premises to consequences.

DISCOURSE

,
Verb.
T.
To treat of; to talk over; to discuss. [Not used.]
Let use discourse our fortunes.

Definition 2022


discourse

discourse

English

Noun

discourse (countable and uncountable, plural discourses)

  1. (uncountable, archaic) Verbal exchange, conversation.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter XVIII
      Two or three of the gentlemen sat near him, and I caught at times scraps of their conversation across the room. At first I could not make much sense of what I heard; for the discourse of Louisa Eshton and Mary Ingram, who sat nearer to me, confused the fragmentary sentences that reached me at intervals.
  2. (uncountable) Expression in words, either speech or writing.
    • 2012 March 1, Brian Hayes, “Pixels or Perish”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 106:
      Drawings and pictures are more than mere ornaments in scientific discourse. Blackboard sketches, geological maps, diagrams of molecular structure, astronomical photographs, MRI images, the many varieties of statistical charts and graphs: These pictorial devices are indispensable tools for presenting evidence, for explaining a theory, for telling a story.
  3. (countable) A formal lengthy exposition of some subject, either spoken or written.
    The preacher gave us a long discourse on duty.
  4. (countable) Any rational expression, reason.
    • South
      difficult, strange, and harsh to the discourses of natural reason
    • Shakespeare
      Sure he that made us with such large discourse, / Looking before and after, gave us not / That capability and godlike reason / To rust in us unused.
  5. (social sciences, countable) An institutionalized way of thinking, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic (after Michel Foucault).
    • 2007, Christine L. Marran, Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture (page 137)
      Furthermore, it should be recalled from the previous chapter that criminological discourse of the 1930s deemed every woman a potential criminal, implicitly including the domestic woman.
    • 2008, Jane Anna Gordon, Lewis Gordon, A Companion to African-American Studies (page 308)
      But equally important to the emergence of uniquely African-American queer discourses is the refusal of African-American movements for liberation to address adequately issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. (obsolete) Dealing; transaction.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      Good Captain Bessus, tell us the discourse / Betwixt Tigranes and our king, and how / We got the victory.

Synonyms

Derived terms

  • direct discourse
  • indirect discourse

Related terms

Translations

Verb

discourse (third-person singular simple present discourses, present participle discoursing, simple past and past participle discoursed)

  1. (intransitive) To engage in discussion or conversation; to converse.
  2. (intransitive) To write or speak formally and at length.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To debate.
  4. To exercise reason; to employ the mind in judging and inferring; to reason.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To produce or emit (musical sounds).
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene 2,
      Hamlet. [] Will you play upon this pipe? [] It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumbs, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
    • 1911, James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, Volume II, Part II, Chapter V, p. 233,
      Music discoursed on that melodious instrument, a Jew's harp, keeps the elfin women away from the hunter, because the tongue of the instrument is of steel.
    • 1915, Ralph Henry Barbour, The Secret Play, New York: D. Appleton & Co., Chapter XXIII, p. 300
      Dahl's Silver Cornet Band, augmented for the occasion to the grand total of fourteen pieces, discoursed sweet—well, discoursed music; let us not be too particular as to the quality of it.

Synonyms

  • (engage in discussion or conversation): converse, talk
  • (write or speak formally and at length):

Derived terms

Translations

See also