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Word of the Day
Friday, June 09, 2006

Definitions for discrete

  1. Constituting a separate thing; distinct.
  2. Consisting of distinct or unconnected parts.
  3. (Mathematics) Defined for a finite or countable set of values; not continuous.

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Citations for discrete
Niels Bohr, working with Rutherford in 1912, was intensely aware... of the need for a radically new approach. This he found in quantum theory, which postulated that electromagnetic energy -- light, radiation -- was not continuous but emitted or absorbed in discrete packets, or "quanta." Oliver Sacks, New York Times Magazine
Llinas compared these studies to phrenology, the eighteenth-century pseudoscience that divided the brain into discrete chunks dedicated to specific functions. John Horgan, The Undiscovered Mind
Origin of discrete
1350-1400
Discrete is from Latin discretus, past participle of discernere, "to separate; to set apart," from dis-, "apart" + cernere, "to distinguish; to sift." It is not to be confused with discreet.