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Line breaks: dis|creet
Pronunciation: /dɪˈskriːt

Definition of discreet in English:

adjective (discreeter, discreetest)

1Careful and prudent in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to keep something confidential or to avoid embarrassment: we made some discreet inquiries
More example sentences
  • A lot of their work is carried out in a very discreet and confidential manner.
  • The purpose of the bullying audit was explained and their participation in a confidential and discreet interview was invited.
  • Do they fear physical harm or do they fear being forced to be discreet so as to avoid physical harm?
1.1Intentionally unobtrusive: a discreet cough
More example sentences
  • A discreet cough alerted him to the couple's readiness to leave.
  • He jumps in his chair at a discreet cough immediately beside him.
  • I talked to him last week in the understated luxury of the discreet Residence.


Middle English: from Old French discret, from Latin discretus 'separate', past participle of discernere 'discern', the sense arising from late Latin discretio (see discretion). Compare with discrete.


The words discrete and discreet are pronounced in the same way and share the same origin but they do not mean the same thing. Discrete meansseparate’, as in a finite number of discrete categories, while discreet meanscareful and circumspect’, as in you can rely on him to be discreet.



Example sentences
  • Previous cases would have been carried out quietly and discreetly attracting no publicity.
  • These cameras will be operating discreetly and the locations and times will not be advertised.
  • Your CV and personal details should be dealt with discreetly and confidentially.


Example sentences
  • But the discreetness goes beyond what is laid down.
  • It sometimes slips by in its discreetness, with the mildest distraction.
  • I apologize for my discreetness, but I did not wish for you to panic.

Definition of discreet in:

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