Definition of discourse in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdisˌkôrs/
1Written or spoken communication or debate: the language of political discourse an imagined discourse between two people traveling in France
More example sentences
  • Someone has finally written a book that lifts the discourse of our current political debate to a higher level.
  • It is something that is quite literally built, brick by brick, and at each level of society you understand what the parameters are of political discourse and political debate.
  • These are issues that should be at the forefront of political debate and election discourse.
1.1A formal discussion of a topic in speech or writing: a discourse on critical theory
More example sentences
  • Valuable tips to raise themselves from mere seekers to achievers were provided by way of formal discourses, informal lectures, and games.
  • It is one of the few discourses to address the topic of lay ethics.
  • We have noted above that several Gnostic writings are post-resurrection discourses or dialogues.
1.2 Linguistics A connected series of utterances; a text or conversation.
Example sentences
  • Second, resolving this underspecification requires reasoning about how the presupposition is rhetorically connected to the discourse context.
  • As a result, the work of literature is itself a concrete utterance within those discourses, existing on the same discursive plane as a contribution to their verbal-ideological life.
  • Although some readers would have liked to see additional chapters on discourse and pragmatics, I have kept the same choice of topics.


Pronunciation: /disˈkôrs/
[no object]
1Speak or write authoritatively about a topic: she could discourse at great length on the history of Europe
More example sentences
  • So the clippers frequently fall silent while he discourses on the usual topics beloved of barbers: holidays, football, etc.
  • His success with women is not to be wondered at: whatever might be their interests, he had the range of information and experience that gave him the ability to discourse knowledgeably on almost any topic under the sun.
  • While at the museum, he contributed essays to numerous books and kept up a prodigious lecture schedule, discoursing on the past and present of fashion at museums and universities around the country.
hold forth, expatiate, pontificate;
talk, give a talk, give a speech, lecture, sermonize, preach
informal spout, sound off
formal perorate
1.1Engage in conversation: he spent an hour discoursing with his supporters in the courtroom
More example sentences
  • Time and time again, I will find myself discoursing with random people, all over the city, lately even in different states.
  • He was in a pensive mood on this night, even when collectively discoursing with the trio.
  • One senses that he misses being in a classroom discoursing with students.
converse, talk, speak, debate, confer, consult, parley, chat


Late Middle English (denoting the process of reasoning, also in the phrase discourse of reason): from Old French discours, from Latin discursus 'running to and fro' (in medieval Latin 'argument'), from the verb discurrere, from dis- 'away' + currere 'to run'; the verb influenced by French discourir.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·course

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