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

  • adj. Constituting a separate thing. See Synonyms at distinct.
  • adj. Consisting of unconnected distinct parts.
  • adj. Mathematics Defined for a finite or countable set of values; not continuous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Separate; distinct; individual; Non-continuous.
  • adj. That can be perceived individually and not as connected to, or part of something else.
  • adj. Having separate electronic components, such as individual resistors and inductors — the opposite of integrated circuitry.
  • adj. Having separate and independent channels of audio, as opposed to multiplexed stereo or quadraphonic, or other multi-channel sound.
  • adj. Having each singleton subset open: said of a topological space or a topology.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Separate; distinct; disjunct.
  • adj. Disjunctive; containing a disjunctive or discretive clause.
  • adj. Separate; not coalescent; -- said of things usually coalescent.
  • transitive v. To separate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Separate; distinct from others; individual: opposed to concrete.
  • Consisting of distinct or individual parts; not continuous.
  • In Med., opposed to confluent: as, discrete exanthemata.
  • In botany, not coalescent; distinct.
  • Disjunctive; consisting of parts united by some extrinsic bond of connection. Thus, the notion of “women, sailors, and idiots” is a discrete notion.
  • Discretive; containing exceptions, real or apparent.
  • To separate; discontinue.

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

  • adj. constituting a separate entity or part


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

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin discrētus, past participle of discernere, to separate; see discern.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French discret, from Latin discretus, from past participle of discernere.



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  • constituting a separate entity or part

    What was once known as Czechoslovakia has since split into two discrete, independent nations

    October 19, 2016

  • Discrete v. discreet.

    Most of us can testify to it. After two or three heaping portions of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad you’re bursting at the seams. You’re so sated that you had to discretely place a crumpled napkin over that uneaten turkey wing on your plate. --Ingrid Spilde

    Despite the usage gaff, the article Why You Always Have Room for Dessert is an interesting read.

    December 30, 2011

  • "Discrete" means distinct or separate (the island of Crete is a discrete part of Greece). "Discreet" means quietly careful or judicious.

    September 12, 2011

  • when you mean discreet

    May 19, 2009

  • diScrETe. Separate v. together.

    May 14, 2008

  • Discrete = ("No, it is *not* the same as 'discreet'") x (More times than I can remember)

    February 9, 2007