Meaning of discourse


If you use the word discourse, you are describing a formal and intense discussion or debate.

The noun discourse comes from the Latin discursus to mean “an argument.” But luckily, that kind of argument does not mean people fighting or coming to blows. The argument in discourse refers to an exchange of ideas — sometimes heated — that often follows a kind of order and give-and-take between the participants. It’s the kind of argument and discussion that teachers love, so discourse away!

Definitions of discourse
  1. noun

    an extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic


    discussion, treatment

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    extended treatment of particulars

    a lengthy discussion (spoken or written) on a particular topic

    a discussion of a topic (as in a meeting)

    discussion; (`talk about’ is a less formal alternative for `discussion of’)
    elaboration, enlargement, expansion

    a discussion that provides additional information

    a discussion (spoken or written) that enlarges on a topic or theme at length or in detail

    a consideration of a topic (as in a meeting) with a view to changing an earlier decision
    embellishment, embroidery

    elaboration of an interpretation by the use of decorative (sometimes fictitious) detail
    type of:

    communicating, communication

    the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

  2. noun

    extended verbal expression in speech or writing

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    context, context of use, linguistic context

    discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation
    type of:

    language unit, linguistic unit

    one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed

  3. noun

    an address of a religious nature (usually delivered during a church service)


    preaching, sermon

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    Sermon on the Mount

    the first major discourse delivered by Jesus (Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6:20-49)

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    a farewell sermon to a graduating class at their commencement ceremonies
    kerugma, kerygma

    preaching the gospel of Christ in the manner of the early church

    zealous preaching and advocacy of the gospel
    homily, preachment

    a sermon on a moral or religious topic

    evangelism at a distance by the use of television
    type of:

    address, speech

    the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience

  4. verb

    consider or examine in speech or writing


    discuss, talk about

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    talk at great length about something of one’s interest
    talk shop

    discuss matters that are related to work
    type of:

    address, cover, deal, handle, plow, treat

    act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression

  5. verb

    talk at length and formally about a topic


    dissertate, hold forth

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    type of:

    speak, talk

    exchange thoughts; talk with

  6. verb

    carry on a conversation



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    argue, contend, debate, fence

    have an argument about something
    interview, question

    conduct an interview in television, newspaper, and radio reporting

    discuss formally with (somebody) for the purpose of an evaluation

    go for an interview in the hope of being hired
    chaffer, chat, chatter, chew the fat, chit-chat, chitchat, claver, confab, confabulate, gossip, jaw, natter, shoot the breeze, visit

    talk socially without exchanging too much information

    dispute or argue stubbornly (especially minor points)

    fight verbally
    bicker, brabble, niggle, pettifog, quibble, squabble

    argue over petty things
    altercate, argufy, dispute, quarrel, scrap

    have a disagreement over something

    be against; express opposition to
    jawbone, schmoose, schmooze, shmoose, shmooze

    talk idly or casually and in a friendly way
    type of:

    speak, talk

    exchange thoughts; talk with

Word Family

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