Discrete and Discreet

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between discrete and discreet?

Discrete means individually distinct. For example:
  • The ship has four discrete sections.
Discreet means inconspicuous. For example:
  • His service is very discreet.

Discrete and Discreet

The words discrete and discreet sound identical, but their meanings are different (i.e., they are homonyms).

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between discrete and discreet.

Discrete

The adjective discrete means individually distinct or separate (i.e., something that is not part of something else).

Examples:
  • There is a rack on the bench that contains all the discrete electronic components.
  • Our club has three discrete membership categories.

Discreet

The adjective discreet means respecting secrecy, inconspicuous, or diplomatic.

Examples:
  • You can trust my aide — he is very discreet.
  • The painting was won by a discreet telephone bidder.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? List of easily confused words