Share this entry

discreet Syllabification: dis·creet
Pronunciation: /diˈskrēt/

Definition of discreet in English:

adjective (discreeter, discreetest)

1Careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage: 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?
Synonyms
careful, circumspect, cautious, wary, chary, guarded;
tactful, diplomatic, prudent, judicious, strategic, politic, delicate, sensitive, kid-glove
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.
Synonyms

Usage

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 means ‘separate,’ as in a finite number of discrete categories, while discreet means ‘careful and circumspect,’ as in you can rely on him to be discreet.

Derivatives

discreetness

1
Pronunciation: /dəˈskrētnəs/
noun
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.

Origin

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.

Words that rhyme with discreet

accrete, autocomplete, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cheat, cleat, clubfeet, compete, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, meet-and-greet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, sangeet, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, treat, tweet, wheat

Definition of discreet in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Related Words