[n. dis-kawrs, -kohrs, dis-kawrs, -kohrs; v. dis-kawrs, -kohrs]
communication of thought by words; talk; conversation: earnest and intelligent discourse.
a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.
Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.
verb (used without object), discoursed, discoursing.
to communicate thoughts orally; talk; converse.
to treat of a subject formally in speech or writing.
verb (used with object), discoursed, discoursing.
to utter or give forth (musical sounds).

1325–75; Middle English discours < Medieval Latin discursus (spelling by influence of Middle English cours course), Late Latin: conversation, Latin: a running to and fro, equivalent to discur(rere) to run about (dis- dis-1 + currere to run) + -sus for -tus suffix of v. action

discourser, noun
prediscourse, noun

1. discussion, colloquy, dialogue, chat, parley.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  verbal communication; talk; conversation
2.  a formal treatment of a subject in speech or writing, such as a sermon or dissertation
3.  a unit of text used by linguists for the analysis of linguistic phenomena that range over more than one sentence
4.  archaic the ability to reason or the reasoning process
5.  (intr; often foll by on or upon) to speak or write (about) formally and extensively
6.  (intr) to hold a discussion
7.  archaic (tr) to give forth (music)
[C14: from Medieval Latin discursus argument, from Latin: a running to and fro, from discurrere to run different ways, from dis-1 + currere to run]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., alteration of L. discursus "a running about," in L.L. "conversation," from stem of discurrere "run about," from dis- "apart" + currere "to run." Sense of "formal speech or writing" is first recorded 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It's hard to imagine the Web without uncivil discourse, so professors may just
  have to have thick skin.
The Internet hasn't so much killed rhetoric as amplify the lack of rhetoric
  that has always been a part of common discourse.
That's the kind of discourse that is used in our public arenas all the time.
Old-fashioned voodoo economics — the belief in tax-cut magic — has
  been banished from civilized discourse.
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