Etymology
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discourse (n.)

late 14c., "process of understanding, reasoning, thought," from French discours, from Latin discursus "a running about," in Late Latin "conversation," in Medieval Latin "reasoning," noun use of past participle of discurrere "to run about, run to and fro, hasten," in Late Latin "to go over a subject, speak at length of, discourse of," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run").

Meaning "a running over a subject in speech, communication of thought in words" is from 1550s; sense of "discussion or treatment of a subject in formal speech or writing," is from 1580s.

Origin and meaning of discourse

discourse (v.)

"hold discourse, communicate thoughts or ideas, especially in a formal manner," 1570s, from discourse (n.). Sense of "speak or write at length" is from 1560s. Earlier in now-obsolete sense of "run or travel over" (1540s), the literal sense of the Latin verb. Related: Discoursed; discoursing.

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Definitions of discourse
1
discourse (v.)
to consider or examine in speech or writing;
Synonyms: talk about / discuss
discourse (v.)
carry on a conversation;
Synonyms: converse
discourse (v.)
talk at length and formally about a topic;
Synonyms: hold forth / dissertate
2
discourse (n.)
extended verbal expression in speech or writing;
discourse (n.)
an address of a religious nature (usually delivered during a church service);
Synonyms: sermon / preaching
discourse (n.)
an extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic;
Synonyms: discussion / treatment
From wordnet.princeton.edu