late 14c., from Old North French descant (Old French deschant), from Medieval Latin discantus "refrain, part-song," from Latin dis- "asunder, apart" (see dis-) + cantus "song, a singing; bird-song," from past participle stem of canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). Spelling was partly Latinized 16c. Originally "counterpoint."
mid-15c.; see descant (n.). Sense of "to comment at length" is first attested 1640s.
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