1650s, "sprightly humor in conversation, witticism, raillery," from French plaisanterie "joke, jest; joking, jesting," from plaisant "pleasant, pleasing, agreeable" (see pleasant). From 1701 as "a sprightly or humorous saying." Related: Pleasantries.
1570s, "language, speech, mode of speech," especially "form of speech of a region or group, idiom of a locality or class" as distinguished from the general accepted literary language, also "one of a number of related modes of speech regarded as descended from a common origin," from French dialecte, from Latin dialectus "local language, way of speaking, conversation," from Greek dialektos "talk, conversation, speech;" also "the language of a country, dialect," from dialegesthai "converse with each other, discuss, argue," from dia "across, between" (see dia-) + legein "speak" from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')").
1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), "critical examination of the truth of an opinion, formal reason and logic applied to rhetoric and refutation," from Old French dialectique (12c.) and directly from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect).
Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant ("the theory of false argumentation leading to contradictions and fallacies), then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character to attain higher truths." Used generally in 20c. Marxism for "evolution by means of contradictions." Related: Dialectics.
"conference, conversation, speech," especially with an enemy, mid-15c., parlai, from Old French parlée, from fem. past participle of Old French parler "to speak" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *paraulare, from Late Latin parabolare "to speak (in parables)," from parabola "speech, discourse," from Latin parabola "comparison" (see parable).
1590s, "passing rapidly from one subject to another," from French discursif, from Medieval Latin discursivus, from Latin discursus "a running about," in Late Latin "conversation," in Medieval Latin "reasoning" (see discourse (n.)). As "relating to the understanding" (often opposed to intuitive), from c. 1600. Related: Discursively.
In minstrel shows, the name of a straight-man character (1870) who was the questioner of the end men. Related: Interlocutory. Fem. forms include interlocutress (1858), interlocutrix (1846), interlocutrice (1848).