late 14c., "process of understanding, reasoning, thought," from French discours, from Latin discursus "a running about," in Late Latin "conversation," from past participle stem of discurrere "run about," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). Sense of "formal speech or writing" is first recorded 1580s.
1540s, from discourse (n.). Related: Discoursed; discoursing.
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