[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
Your proposal must show your awareness of those multiple discourses and show
  the place your research will occupy within them.
Both are radically historicized, which in our time often means: reduced to an
  expression of the reigning discourses.
It is the history of colonialism, domination and power discourses playing out
  in the virtual realm.
What is notably missing from the book are lengthy discourses about science
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