Definition of discourse in English:



Pronunciation /ˈdɪsˌkɔrs//ˈdisˌkôrs/
  • 1Written or spoken communication or debate.

    ‘the language of political discourse’
    ‘an imagined discourse between two people traveling in France’
    • ‘The preservation discourse speaks to the practice of individual responsibility for maintaining health.’
    • ‘I hope I can help change the political discourse in this country.’
    • ‘Fear, whether it is quelled or stimulated, provides the capacity to both control and manipulate a variety of social and political discourses.’
    • ‘In this, her work is a model for scholars attempting to understand the political discourse and social imaginaries of subaltern communities of all kinds.’
    • ‘These are issues that should be at the forefront of political debate and election discourse.’
    • ‘The idea has also entered the public discourse, influencing debates on school curriculums and standardised tests.’
    • ‘So what are the fruits of our actions in the political discourse?’
    • ‘Ideas about class and class conflict have disappeared from political discourses.’
    • ‘One can imagine the consequences to the political discourse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How, then, can we force a change in the media systems that dominate the discourse and misinform the debate?’
    • ‘The fact that violence was mostly reproduced within interface communities meant that political discourses, in such places, were tied to the realities of vulnerability and threat.’
    • ‘Each transformation adds to the political power of the discourse.’
    • ‘He who controls the discourse wins the argument.’
    • ‘They are an expression of ideas, a discussion, a debate, a discourse.’
    • ‘Thus, we can identify strains of our current discourse in debates held nearly 40 years ago.’
    • ‘However, we are not optimistic given the trends in current political discourse surrounding debate of issues such as the foreshore.’
    • ‘Someone has finally written a book that lifts the discourse of our current political debate to a higher level.’
    • ‘I think this is about the quality of our political discourse.’
    • ‘In speaking the academic discourse of philosophy, the debaters have lost their discursive, if not their literal, accents.’
    discussion, conversation, talk, dialogue, communication, conference, debate, consultation, verbal exchange
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A formal discussion of a topic in speech or writing.
      ‘a discourse on critical theory’
      • ‘Further, the economy of words and gestures in ritual speech serves to form and catechize in ways that formal discourse about this practice cannot.’
      • ‘In so doing, she literally connected discourses on Victorian manners and Mormon theology.’
      • ‘Whenever she brought their conversation to a subject he found interesting, he gave longwinded discourses verging on speeches.’
      • ‘It is one of the few discourses to address the topic of lay ethics.’
      • ‘The author thoughtfully weaves patches of personal history with discourses on topics so fundamental to her growth as a young woman coming of age in Alabama.’
      • ‘The problem stems from critics' readiness to appeal to literature as a form of critique of legal discourse without enquiring into the discourses informing the writing, reading, and interpretation of literature itself.’
      • ‘A dissertation is a detailed discourse or treatise on a particular topic that provides a new perspective to a phenomenon.’
      • ‘Valuable tips to raise themselves from mere seekers to achievers were provided by way of formal discourses, informal lectures, and games.’
      • ‘My son will deliver a discourse on a Torah topic, and each of his grandfathers will say a few words.’
      • ‘Both men and women are implicated in formal as well as informal gift-giving, although the most formal presentations and discourses are executed by men.’
      • ‘However, it's an interesting discourse on an unusual writing career.’
      • ‘Just a short discourse and then this topic is closed on my blog henceforth.’
      • ‘Woven of prior discourses, the text is ultimately related to all of culture.’
      • ‘They argued, discussed, rendered discourses and critiqued each other's theories.’
      • ‘Sure enough, the reader of this collection finds a range of perspectives on and approaches to early modern texts and discourses, from highly theorized essays to more straightforward historical explorations of gender in the period.’
      • ‘We have noted above that several Gnostic writings are post-resurrection discourses or dialogues.’
      • ‘It may not lead to long discussions and discourses.’
      • ‘Both female and male writers drew on these discourses in their writing.’
      • ‘Imperialism is a term often used as a rhetorical flourish and definitions vary especially in academic discourse and social discussion tracts.’
      • ‘He prefaced his speech with a discourse on the need of friendship.’
      essay, treatise, dissertation, paper, study, critique, monograph, disquisition, tract
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Linguistics A connected series of utterances; a text or conversation.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Second, resolving this underspecification requires reasoning about how the presupposition is rhetorically connected to the discourse context.’
      • ‘All three examples are from the very first sentences of their essays; possessives are being used to introduce discourse referents.’
      • ‘Although some readers would have liked to see additional chapters on discourse and pragmatics, I have kept the same choice of topics.’
      • ‘The investigation focused on how non-native speakers use intonation to signal meaning in the structure of their discourse.’
      conversation, talk, communication, interchange, argument
      View synonyms


Pronunciation /disˈkôrs//dɪsˈkɔrs/
  • 1Speak or write authoritatively about a topic.

    ‘she could discourse at great length on the history of Europe’
    • ‘It will be particularly salutary because it allows us to discourse again about self-discipline, self-mastery, and maybe even the exercise of the will.’
    • ‘But whenever he has spoken about the guru, he has discoursed for not less than one-and-a-half hours.’
    • ‘He spent half an hour waving his hands over my knees while discoursing on his life as a school-master and politics.’
    • ‘They speak directly to the emotions, and they discourse about the things in life that really matter.’
    • ‘It also allowed him to discourse on an important phenomenon that was gaining prominence at the time: the conflict between piety and wealth.’
    • ‘So the clippers frequently fall silent while he discourses on the usual topics beloved of barbers: holidays, football, etc.’
    • ‘Choose a field of research, and Aristotle laboured in it; pick an area of human endeavour, and Aristotle discoursed upon it.’
    • ‘He's been doing the rounds of the newspapers portraying himself as the victim of press intrusion into his private life, and discoursing on identity and being proud to be English.’
    • ‘He would never miss an opportunity, in the prologues or epilogues to these programs, to discourse upon the importance of being frightened, of having your spine tingled.’
    • ‘Romeo stumbled back and forth across the stage, spending most of the scene discoursing to the audience about Juliet's beauty while hardly looking at her.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, fellow students were discoursing on what was to me the arcane subject of process theology.’
    • ‘The Party members, after all, aren't shy about discoursing on moral standards or reluctant to translate the most basic of those standards into law.’
    • ‘There was scarcely a subject on which he could not discourse with humor and invention, from the depressive mood of the country to its other civic troubles.’
    • ‘A quilter, she discourses regularly on the simple joys of stitching cloth, of creating harmony from scraps.’
    • ‘He read the daily paper and after digesting would discourse on current events.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He discoursed about trees, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows from the wall.’
    • ‘While the two of us waited for the meeting to start, I sat rapt as Duncan discoursed on the origins of class society.’
    • ‘I only discoursed on that pleasing subject because news is scarce.’
    hold forth, expatiate, pontificate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Engage in conversation.
      ‘he spent an hour discoursing with his supporters in the courtroom’
      • ‘After an anxious search of three days they found Him in the Temple, discoursing with the learned doctors of the law.’
      • ‘He was in a pensive mood on this night, even when collectively discoursing with the trio.’
      • ‘Show me then what I shall accomplish by discoursing with you.’
      • ‘Time and time again, I will find myself discoursing with random people, all over the city, lately even in different states.’
      • ‘One senses that he misses being in a classroom discoursing with students.’
      converse, talk, speak, have a discussion, discuss matters, debate, confer, consult, parley, chat
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (denoting the process of reasoning): 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.