adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French discret, from Medieval Latin discretus, from Latin, past participle of discernere to separate, distinguish between — more at discern Date: 14th century 1. having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech ; prudent; especially capable of preserving prudent silence 2. unpretentious, modest <
the warmth and discreet elegance of a civilized home — Joseph Wechsberg
3. unobtrusive, unnoticeable <
followed at a discreet distance
discreetly adverbdiscreetness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Discreet — Dis*creet , a. [Compar. {Discreeter}; superl. {Discreetest}.] [F. discret, L. discretus separated (whence the meaning reserved, prudent), p. p. of discernere. See {Discern}, and cf. {Discrete}.] 1. Possessed of discernment, especially in avoiding …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • discreet — mid 14c., morally discerning, prudent, circumspect, from O.Fr. discret discreet, sensible, intelligent, wise, from L. discretus separated, distinct, in M.L. discerning, careful, pp. of discernere distinguish (see DISCERN (Cf. discern)). Meaning… …   Etymology dictionary

  • discreet — discreet, discrete have the same origin in the Latin verb discernere meaning ‘to sift’, but their meanings are very different. Discreet means ‘circumspect in speech or action’, can be used of people or things, and is common as an adverb… …   Modern English usage

  • discreet — ► ADJECTIVE (discreeter, discreetest) ▪ careful not to attract attention or give offence. DERIVATIVES discreetly adverb. USAGE The words discrete and discreet are often confused. Discrete means ‘separate’ (a discrete unit) …   English terms dictionary

  • discreet — I adjective astute, calculating, careful, cautious, cautus, chary, circumspect, consideratus, deliberate, diplomatic, discerning, discretional, discretionary, discriminate, discriminating, discriminative, distinguishing, forethoughtful, guarded,… …   Law dictionary

  • discreet — prudent, forethoughtful, foresighted, provident (see under PRUDENCE) Analogous words: *cautious, circumspect, wary: politic, diplomatic (see SUAVE) Antonyms: indiscreet Contrasted words: rash, reckless, foolhardy (see ADVENTUROUS): foolish,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • discreet — [adj] cautious, sensible alert, attentive, awake, cagey, calculating, careful, chary, circumspect, civil, conservative, considerate, controlled, diplomatic, discerning, discriminating, gingerly, guarded, having foresight, heedful, intelligent,… …   New thesaurus

  • discreet — [di skrēt′] adj. [ME & OFr discret < L discretus, pp. of discernere: see DISCERN] careful about what one says or does; prudent; esp., keeping silent or preserving confidences when necessary SYN. CAREFUL discreetly adv. discreetness n …   English World dictionary

  • discreet — [[t]dɪskri͟ːt[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you are discreet, you are polite and careful in what you do or say, because you want to avoid embarrassing or offending someone. They were gossipy and not always discreet... He followed at a discreet distance.… …   English dictionary

  • discreet — 01. He was not very [discreet] about his affair with his secretary, so it s not surprising that his wife found out. 02. He made some [discreet] enquiries about the company before accepting the position. 03. The detective followed the suspect at a …   Grammatical examples in English

  • discreet — di|screet [dıˈskri:t] adj [Date: 1300 1400; : French; Origin: discret, from Latin discretus, past participle of discernere; DISCERN] 1.) careful about what you say or do, so that you do not offend, upset, or embarrass people or tell secrets ≠… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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