Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A formal discourse on a subject, often in writing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lengthy, formal discourse that analyses or explains some topic; a dissertation or treatise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A formal or systematic inquiry into, or discussion of, any subject; a full examination or investigation of a matter, with the arguments and facts bearing upon it; elaborate essay; dissertation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A seeking; search; investigation.
  • n. A formal or systematic inquiry into or investigation of some problem or topic; a formal discussion or treatise; a dissertation; an essay: as, a disquisition on government or morals.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an elaborate analytical or explanatory essay or discussion

Etymologies

Latin disquīsītiō, disquīsītiōn-, investigation, from disquīsītus, past participle of disquīrere, to investigate : dis-, dis- + quaerere, to search for.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The word disquisition has appeared in 15 New York Times articles in the past year, including on June 12 in the essay The Ahab Parallax: 'Moby

    NYT > Home Page

  • The principal view in this disquisition is to enable those, who have already learnt to draw, to make themselves easily masters of painting in any manner they may choose; by which assistance many persons of genius, who, from ignorance of the nature and use of colours, might be deterred from it, may be both induced & enabled to attempt painting successfully, and bring those talents into practice, which would be otherwise lost to the public and themselves.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • The principal view in this disquisition is to enable those, who have already learnt to draw, to make themselves easily masters of painting in any manner they may choose; by which assistance many persons of genius, who, from ignorance of the nature and use of colours, might be deterred from it, may be both induced and enabled to attempt painting successfully, and bring those talents into practice, which would be otherwise lost to the public and themselves.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • To Mr. Johnson, of course, a 237-word disquisition on a Grecian formula for solvency is tantamount to "War and Peace."

    The Soul of Brevity

  • Later, as part of a rambling disquisition, which is allowed because, under the Commissions 'rules, he is permitted to represent himself, Mohammed addressed the desire for martyrdom that has also been prominent in previous hearings.

    Andy Worthington: Chaos and Lies: Why Obama Was Right To Halt The Guantanamo Trials

  • To this may be added that too subtle disquisition, which is an invention unsanctioned by Scripture, about the relations of those acts which are performed by us.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 2

  • Yet as any two marriages in society will yield a certain number of resemblances, so will any two wars in history, whether war itself be regarded as abstract or concrete, -- a question that seems to have exercised some grammatical minds, and ought therefore to be settled before any further step is taken in this disquisition, which is the disquisition of a grammarian.

    The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915

  • _ When we adhere to one point, whatever the form, it should rather be called a disquisition than a conversation.

    Imaginary Conversations and Poems A Selection

  • His value to the blogosphere was clear from his very first post, a thousand-word disquisition on how boards of directors are a bit like an tonsils: "a largely useless, if mostly harmless, institution".

    Felix Salmon - All posts

  • He pursued, with visible pleasure, that kind of disquisition which was naturally suggested by them.

    Wieland; or the Transformation. An American Tale.

Comments

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  • "In the morning he had a spin in the ice-boat with his hostess and a few of the hardier guests; in the afternoon he 'went over the farm' with Reggie, and listened, in the elaborately appointed stables, to long and impressive disquisitions on the horse; after tea he talked in a corner of the firelit hall with a young lady who had professed herself broken-hearted when his engagement was announced, but was now eager to tell him of her own matrimonial hopes; and finally, about midnight, he assisted in putting a gold-fish in one visitor’s bed, dressed up a burglar in the bath-room of a nervous aunt, and saw in the small hours by joining in a pillow-fight that ranged from the nurseries to the basement."
    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009

  • One of my favourites, which I use alternately to refer to talks and written papers.

    August 15, 2008