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Meaning of Discorse


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  • verbal expression, either in speech or writing
  • verbal exchange or conversation
  • a formal lengthy exposition of some subject, either spoken or written
  • (in social sciences): an institutionalized way of thinking, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic (term of Michel Foucault)
  • To engage in discussion or conversation; to converse.
  • To write or speak formally and at length.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia



Dis*course" (?), n. [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.
Shak.

2. Conversation; talk.

In their discourses after supper.
Shak.

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.
Shak.

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" (?), v. 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.
Shak.

3. To relate something; to tell. Shak.

4. To treat of something in writing and formally.

Dis*course", v. 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.
Shak.

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's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)



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