• WordNet 3.6
    • v descant talk at great length about something of one's interest
    • v descant sing by changing register; sing by yodeling "The Austrians were yodeling in the mountains"
    • v descant sing in descant
    • n descant a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Descant A discourse formed on its theme, like variations on a musical air; a comment or comments. "Upon that simplest of themes how magnificent a descant !"
    • Descant (Mus) Originally, a double song; a melody or counterpoint sung above the plain song of the tenor; a variation of an air; a variation by ornament of the main subject or plain song.
    • Descant (Mus) The canto cantus, or soprano voice; the treble.
    • Descant (Mus) The upper voice in part music.
    • Descant To comment freely; to discourse with fullness and particularity; to discourse at large. "A virtuous man should be pleased to find people descanting on his actions."
    • Descant To sing a variation or accomplishment.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n descant In music: A counterpoint added to a given melody or cantus firmus, and usually written above it.
    • n descant The art of contriving such a counterpoint, or, in general, of composing part-music. Descant was the first stage in the development of counterpoint; it began about 1100.
    • n descant In part-music, the upper part or voice, especially the soprano or air.
    • n descant A varied song; a song or tune with various modulations.
    • n descant A continued discourse or series of comments upon a subject; a disquisition; comment; remark.
    • descant In music, to run a division or variety with the voice, on a musical ground in true measure; sing.
    • descant To make copious and varied comments; discourse; remark again and again in varied phrase; enlarge or dwell on a matter in a variety of remarks or comments about it: usually with on or upon before the subject of remark: as, to descant upon the beauties of a scene, or the shortness of life.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Descant des′kant the air in a four-part song: a discourse or disquisition under several heads
    • v.i Descant to discourse at length: to comment
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. descant, deschant, F. déchant, discant, LL. discantus, fr. L. dis, + cantus, singing, melody, fr. canere, to sing. See Chant, and cf. Descant (v. i.) Discant
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. descant—L. dis, apart, and cantus, a song—cantāre, to sing.


In literature:

After all this, might we descant upon the squire's characteristics.
"The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
As every one descants upon the want of comfort in a prison, it is to be presumed that there are no very comfortable ones.
"The Phantom Ship" by Frederick Marryat
For a little while he descanted upon this generally, and at last became personal.
"Peter Simple" by Frederick Marryat
Both parties were descanting upon plagues.
"Rattlin the Reefer" by Edward Howard
She all night long her amorous descant sung: Silence was pleased.
"Milton" by Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
Presently was mingled with the bird's descant low singing of another kind.
"Chivalry" by James Branch Cabell
All the way home he descanted on his influence with Wells and the trustees.
"A Tame Surrender, A Story of The Chicago Strike" by Charles King
Then came my mother's clear, high-bred voice, just outside the door, descanting on the beauty of the Count's parterres and orangery.
"The King's Mirror" by Anthony Hope
It is easy for us now to descant on the virtues of moderation.
"William Pitt and the Great War" by John Holland Rose
They would hardly have descanted on the tenderness as absolutely extinct.
"Sir Walter Ralegh" by William Stebbing
She hummed a low and plaintive descant, mournful and tender as her own thoughts.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
How well do I recollect the Ettrick Shepherd descanting on the sagacity and perseverance of his favourite sheep-dog!
"Anecdotes of Dogs" by Edward Jesse
She told him so in the inn, and descanted on the goodness of God, who had sent her a friend in that bitter hour.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 109, November, 1866" by Various
Their singing and their descanting appeared to me a charming pastime.
"The Wagnerian Romances" by Gertrude Hall
And it was little Frau's delight to descant on the qualities of the menu as she dished and served it.
"The Martian" by George Du Maurier
And this was the grand beauty upon which the young backwoodsman had so enthusiastically descanted.
"The Wild Huntress" by Mayne Reid
I superficially described your person, and descanted a little on the embellishments of your mind.
"Alonzo and Melissa" by Daniel Jackson, Jr.
It is a subject on which many writers have descanted and in regard to which much might still be written.
"The Empire of the East" by H. B. Montgomery
Each day the Indian chief descanted at length upon the horrors of cold and famine that still lay before them.
"Adventurers of the Far North" by Stephen Leacock
He volubly descanted on the frequent loss of life at level crossings and proceeded to show his devices for lessening such dangers.
"The Day of Sir John Macdonald" by Joseph Pope

In poetry:

And up to Heaven the descant ran,
With no cold roof 'twixt God and man,
To dash back from its frowning span,
A church prayer's listless blasphemy.
"The Blackstone-Edge Gathering" by Ernest Jones
In careless mood he sought the Muse's bower;
His lyre, like that to great Pelides strong,
The soft'ning solace of a vacant boor,
Its airy descant indolently rung.
"Sheridan" by Thomas Gent
Come then, Dione, let us range the grove,
The science of the feather'd choirs explore
Hear linnets argue, larks descant of love,
And blame the gloom of solitude, no more.
"Elegy VI. To a Lady, On the Language of Birds" by William Shenstone
'Twas then that a voice seem'd to swell on my soul,
I listen'd--and Fancy the cadence renew'd ;
Through the silence of Nature its melody stole,
And thus the rich descant its warbling pursu'd.
""When lately I mus'd on the days that are fled"" by Laura Sophia Temple
``Keeps trilling, trilling,
Its nest above,
The descant thrilling
Of straining love,
That yearneth for more—more—more,—till gladness,
Still winged with wanting, seems one with sadness.''
"Another Spring Carol" by Alfred Austin
Alas! now wilt thou chide, and say (I deem),
My figured descant hides the simple theme:
Or in another wise reproving, say
I ill observe thine own high reticent way.
Oh, pardon, that I testify of thee
What thou couldst never speak, nor others be!
"Epilogue--To The Poet's Sitter" by Francis Thompson

In news:

Assemblages by Jimmy Descant .
Collage artist Jimmy Descant is building a different future.
Time to stop descanting on Romney's deformities and focus on Obama's inductions dangerous.