Dec 14, 2012

Discreet vs. Discrete

Discreet describes showing “reserve, prudence, or cautiousness” in one’s behavior or speech. The noun form of discreet is discretion. Both discreet and discrete derive from the Latin “discretus”, meaning separate, situated, put apart, which derives from the Late Latin discernere (where the word “discern” came from).

Discrete means “distinct, separate, or unrelated.” The noun form of discrete is discreteness.

Here is how each might be used in a sentence.
These two items are discrete.
The politician was not discreet.

Discrete and discreet are homophones; words that sound alike, but differ in meaning or spelling or both.