‘Discreet’ or ‘discrete’?

 The words discrete and discreet share the same origin (from the Latin discretus, meaning ‘separate’), are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. Discrete stays true to its Latin origins and means ‘individually separate and distinct’, as in:

This issue is discrete from the others.

On the other hand discreet means ‘careful and circumspect’, as in:

A lot of their work is carried out in a very discreet and confidential manner.


Back to usage

You may also be interested in

‘Diffuse’ or ‘defuse’?

‘Bring’ or ‘take’?

‘Flair’ or ‘flare’?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Grammar and usage