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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[dih-skresh-uh n] /dɪˈskrɛʃ ən/
the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice:
It is entirely within my discretion whether I will go or stay.
the quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum:
Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.
at discretion, at one's option or pleasure:
They were allowed to work overtime at discretion.
Origin of discretion
1250-1300; Middle English discrecioun < Anglo-French < Late Latin discrētiōn- (stem of discrētiō). See discreet, -ion
2. judgment, wisdom, discrimination, sense. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for discretion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Al's anger and contempt were so great that he had lost all sense of discretion.

    With Sully into the Sioux Land Joseph Mills Hanson
  • And he seemed to have his prisoner entirely to his own discretion.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • As though any great poet who had come to years of discretion could be a materialist or an infidel.

  • I rely on you to read my letters to her with care and discretion.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • In granting the increase Congress authorized the President in his discretion to augment that force to 87,800.

    Our Navy in the War Lawrence Perry
British Dictionary definitions for discretion


the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid social embarrassment or distress
freedom or authority to make judgments and to act as one sees fit (esp in the phrases at one's own discretion, at the discretion of)
age of discretion, years of discretion, the age at which a person is considered to be able to manage his own affairs
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
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Word Origin and History for discretion

c.1300, dyscrecyun, "moral discernment," from Old French discrecion or directly from Late Latin discretionem (nominative discretio) "discernment, power to make distinctions," in classical Latin "separation, distinction," noun of state from past participle stem of discernere "to separate, distinguish" (see discern). Phrase at (one's) discretion attested from 1570s, from sense of "power to decide or judge" (late 14c.); the age of discretion (late 14c.) in English law was 14.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with discretion


In addition to the idiom beginning with discretion also see: throw caution (discretion) to the winds
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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