• (mainly noun) IPA: /ˈdɪskɔː(ɹ)s/
  • (mainly verb) IPA: /dɪsˈkɔː(ɹ)s/
  • (rhotic, horse-hoarse) IPA: /ˈdɪsko(ː)ɹs/, /dɪsˈko(ː)ɹs/
  • (nonrhotic, horse-hoarse) IPA: /ˈdɪskoəs/, /dɪsˈkoəs/


  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.
  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.
    • 1692, Robert South, A Discourse Concerning The General Resurrection On Acts xxiv. 15
      difficult, strange, and harsh to the discourses of natural reason
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iv]:
      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).
    • 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.
    • 1611, Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “A King, and No King”, in Comedies and Tragedies […], London: Printed for Humphrey Robinson, […], and for Humphrey Moseley […], published 1679, OCLC 3083972 ↗, Act 2, scene 1:
      Good Captain Bessus, tell us the discourse / Betwixt Tigranes and our king, and how / We got the victory.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: рациона́льность
Translations Verb

discourse (discourses, present participle discoursing; 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.
  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.
  • (engage in discussion or conversation) converse, talk
  • (write or speak formally and at length)
Translations Translations
  • German: eine Rede halten
  • Spanish: disertar

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