Idiom vs Discourse - What's the difference?

idiom | discourse | Related terms |

Idiom is a related term of discourse.

As nouns the difference between idiom and discourse

is that idiom is idiom while discourse is (uncountable|archaic) verbal exchange, conversation.

As a verb discourse is

to engage in discussion or conversation; to converse.



(wikipedia idiom)


  • A manner of speaking, a way of expressing oneself.
  • A language or dialect.
  • Specifically, a particular variety of language; a restricted dialect used in a given historical period, context etc.
  • * 2010 , (Christopher Hitchens), "The Other'' L-Word", ''Vanity Fair , 13 Jan 2010:
  • Many parents and teachers have become irritated to the point of distraction at the way the weed-style growth of "like" has spread through the idiom of the young.
  • An artistic style (for example, in art, architecture, or music); an instance of such a style.
  • An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words.
  • * 2008 , Patricia Hampl, “You’re History”, in Patricia Hampl and Elaine Tyler May (editors), Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing a Life , Minnesota Historical Society, ISBN 9780873516303, page 134:
  • You’re history , we say . Surely it is an American idiom . Impossible to imagine a postwar European saying, “You’re history. . . . That’s history,” meaning fuhgeddaboudit, pal.
  • (programming) A programming construct or phraseology generally held to be the most efficient, elegant or effective means to achieve a particular result or behavior.
  • * {{quote-book, 2005, Magnus Lie Hetland, Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional, page=100, isbn=159059519X
  • , passage=I have to use the same assignment and call to raw_input in two places. How can I avoid that? I can use the while True/break idiom :


    * (phrase) expression (loosely), form of words (loosely), phrase (loosely)

    Derived terms

    * idiolect * idiomatic * idiomatical * idiomatically

    See also



    * ----



  • (uncountable, archaic) Verbal exchange, conversation.
  • * 1847 , , (Jane Eyre), Chapter XVIII
  • Two or three of the gentlemen sat near him, and I caught at times scraps of their conversation across the room. At first I could not make much sense of what I heard; for the discourse of Louisa Eshton and Mary Ingram, who sat nearer to me, confused the fragmentary sentences that reached me at intervals.
  • (uncountable) Expression in words, either speech or writing.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2012-03
  • , author= , title=Pixels or Perish , volume=100, issue=2, page=106 , magazine= citation , passage=Drawings and pictures are more than mere ornaments in scientific discourse . Blackboard sketches, geological maps, diagrams of molecular structure, astronomical photographs, MRI images, the many varieties of statistical charts and graphs: These pictorial devices are indispensable tools for presenting evidence, for explaining a theory, for telling a story.}}
  • (countable) A formal lengthy exposition of some subject, either spoken or written.
  • The preacher gave us a long discourse on duty.
  • (countable) Any rational expression, reason.
  • * South
  • difficult, strange, and harsh to the discourses of natural reason
  • * Shakespeare
  • Sure he that made us with such large discourse , / Looking before and after, gave us not / That capability and godlike reason / To rust in us unused.
  • (social sciences, countable) An institutionalized way of thinking, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic (after ).
  • * 2007 , Christine L. Marran, Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture (page 137)
  • Furthermore, it should be recalled from the previous chapter that criminological discourse of the 1930s deemed every woman a potential criminal, implicitly including the domestic woman.
  • * 2008 , Jane Anna Gordon, Lewis Gordon, A Companion to African-American Studies (page 308)
  • But equally important to the emergence of uniquely African-American queer discourses is the refusal of African-American movements for liberation to address adequately issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • (obsolete) Dealing; transaction.
  • * Beaumont and Fletcher
  • Good Captain Bessus, tell us the discourse / Betwixt Tigranes and our king, and how / We got the victory.


    * (expression in words) communication, expression * (verbal exchange) debate, conversation, discussion, talk * (formal lengthy exposition of some subject) dissertation, lecture, sermon, study, treatise * (rational expression) ratiocination

    Derived terms

    * direct discourse * indirect discourse


  • To engage in discussion or conversation; to converse.
  • To write or speak formally and at length.
  • (obsolete) To debate.
  • To exercise reason; to employ the mind in judging and inferring; to reason.
  • (Dryden)


    * (engage in discussion or conversation) converse, talk * (write or speak formally and at length)

    Derived terms

    * discourser

    See also

    * essay