9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-skreet] /dɪˈskrit/
judicious in one's conduct or speech, especially with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
showing prudence and circumspection; decorous:
a discreet silence.
modestly unobtrusive; unostentatious:
a discreet, finely wrought gold necklace.
Origin of discreet
1325-75; Middle English discret < Anglo-French, Old French < Medieval Latin discrētus, Latin: separated (past participle of discernere; see discern), equivalent to dis- dis-1 + crē- separate, distinguish (variant stem of cernere) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
discreetly, adverb
discreetness, noun
overdiscreet, adjective
overdiscreetly, adverb
overdiscreetness, noun
quasi-discreet, adjective
quasi-discreetly, adverb
Can be confused
discreet, discrete.
1. See careful.
1. indiscreet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for discreetly
  • He was discreetly generous to both organized charities and his friends, while mentoring a large number of colleagues.
  • Generally bring a set of prayer beads which can be discreetly palmed.
  • Kids are an exception and can discreetly drink and eat as usual.
  • Installed hearing loops would enable people to use their own devices discreetly.
  • Guests are served a simple sheet cake carved discreetly in the kitchen.
  • It required wires to the ear buds, but were discreetly hidden.
  • They drove him to the hospital screaming, the jagged pink protrusion covered discreetly by a towel.
  • Implanted under a patient's skin, such a monitor could discreetly alert him to dangerous variations in his glucose levels.
  • And it leaves no trace, so those who use it discreetly are unlikely to arouse suspicion from the prosecuting authorities.
  • Now they are given a few months before being jailed discreetly.
British Dictionary definitions for discreetly


careful to avoid social embarrassment or distress, esp by keeping confidences secret; tactful
Derived Forms
discreetly, adverb
discreetness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French discret, from Medieval Latin discrētus, from Latin discernere to discern
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for discreetly



mid-14c., "morally discerning, prudent, circumspect," from Old French discret "discreet, sensible, intelligent, wise," from Latin discretus "separated, distinct," in Medieval Latin "discerning, careful," past participle of discernere "distinguish" (see discern). Meaning "separate, distinct" in English is late 14c.

Spellings discrete and nativized discreet co-existed until after c.1600, when discreet became the common word for "careful, prudent," and discrete was maintained in philosophy, medicine, music and other disciplines that remembered Latin and made effort to obey it. Related: Discreetly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for discreet

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for discreetly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with discreetly