Weekly Word: Descant


Words have always fascinated me. Even as a child I had a weirdly large vocabulary, mainly because I’ve always liked to read a lot, and I started writing stories at an early age. I loved, and continue to love, the way in which a few sounds can carry so much meaning, and the way in which they work together to convey even more.

With my Weekly Word posts I hope to share a few of the words whose meanings and sounds I love. I hope you find a use for them in your own writing, whatever form that might take.

This week’s Weekly Word is:

Part of Speech

Noun, adjective and verb

Related Words

  • descanting
  • descanted
  • descanter (noun)


deskænt / des·​cant /ˈde-ˌskan


  1. in music

    • a decorative musical accompaniment or counterpoint accompanying a simple musical theme, usually written above it, often improvised by performer.
    • (in part music) the soprano.
    • a song or melody.
  2. a variation upon anything; a comment on a subject; a criticism; a discourse


  1. Music (chiefly British ).
    • soprano: a descant recorder.
    • treble: a descant viol.
  1. in music
    • sing by changing register; sing by yodeling
    • sing in descant
  2. to talk at great length about something holding one’s interest

Word Origin

1350–1400; Middle English discant, descaunt – from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin discanthus, equivalent to Latin dis (a Latin prefix meaning “apart,”) + chant.



  1. discant


  1. warble, yodel
  2. sing
  3. declaim, discourse, discuss, expatiate, harangue, lecture, orate, speak, talk about

Use in a Sentence

  1. She let the harmonies of the music surround her for several long moments before she raised her voice in sweet descant.
  2. Amelia bit back a sigh as she listened to her mother descant on all the reasons why her outlooks, beliefs and actions were so completely and utterly wrong.
  3. They’d been descanting on the topic for hours now, their wine glasses filled and refilled several times over, the pair of them so engrossed in their discussion that Jamie knew it would be easy for him to slip away unnoticed to meet with Amelia soon.


If you would like to join in with this activity in any way, feel free to do so. You could either share a Weekly Word of your own – this week beginning with the letter D – or you could use my word, or Millie Thom’s, as inspiration for a post. This could be a piece of poetry, flash fiction, or any form of prose you choose. Just share a link in the comments so we can see what you’ve been up to!

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