• WordNet 3.6
    • adj discrete constituting a separate entity or part "a government with three discrete divisions","on two distinct occasions"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Discrete Disjunctive; containing a disjunctive or discretive clause; as, “I resign my life, but not my honor,” is a discrete proposition.
    • Discrete Separate; distinct; disjunct.
    • Discrete (Bot) Separate; not coalescent; -- said of things usually coalescent.
    • v. t Discrete To separate.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • discrete Separate; distinct from others; individual: opposed to concrete. In logic, discrete terms or suppositions are such as refer to single individuals. In music, discrete tones are such as are separated by fixed or obvious steps or intervals of pitch, as those of a pianoforte.
    • discrete Consisting of distinct or individual parts; not continuous. Discrete quantity is quantity composed of distinct units, like rational numbers; a system of quantities capable of being in one-to-one correspondence with the series of positive, integer numbers. Discrete proportion is a proportion in which the ratio of the first term to the second is equal to that of the third to the fourth, not to that of the second to the third.
    • discrete In Med., opposed to confluent: as, discrete exanthemata.
    • discrete In botany, not coalescent; distinct.
    • discrete Disjunctive; consisting of parts united by some extrinsic bond of connection. Thus, the notion of “women, sailors, and idiots” is a discrete notion.
    • discrete Discretive; containing exceptions, real or apparent.
    • discrete To separate; discontinue.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Discrete dis-krēt′ separate: consisting of distinct parts: referring to distinct objects—opposite of concrete
    • ***


  • Bible
    “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. [Proverbs 19:11]”
  • Tennessee Williams
    “Bohemia has no banner. It survives by discretion.”
  • Denis Diderot
    “Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to.”
  • Francis Bacon
    “Discretion of speech is more than eloquence, and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words, or in good order.”
  • Junius
    “Notable talents are not necessarily connected with discretion.”
  • Jean De La Fontaine
    “Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable.”


Discretion is the better part of valour - This idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. discretus, p. p. of discernere,. See Discreet
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A doublet of discreet.


In literature:

They had, therefore, reached the years of discretion.
"Outward Bound" by Oliver Optic
Her father gave unlimited pocket-money in form of bank-cheques, to be filled up at her own discretion.
"The Lost Lady of Lone" by E.D.E.N. Southworth
The youth was frightened, and thought it well to surrender at discretion.
"The Northern Light" by E. Werner
I respect you for your discretion.
"Marietta" by F. Marion Crawford
It was not that the leader lacked either justice or discretion in his fiery severity.
"Jan" by A. J. Dawson
You are a man of character, you know; of prudence and discretion.
"The Gamester (1753)" by Edward Moore
He goes to justice and discretion only at second hand, and through the medium of some superiors.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VII. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
Confidence was universally felt in their piety and in their discretion.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 55, No. 340, February, 1844" by Various
The citadel soon after surrendered at discretion.
"Pinnock's Improved Edition of Dr. Goldsmith's History of Rome" by Oliver Goldsmith
The center of the peninsula, from Ferrara to Terracina, lay at the discretion of the Pope.
"Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2" by John Addington Symonds

In poetry:

Will, o'ercome wi' Tam's oration,
Baith fell to and ate their fill--
'Tam!' quo' Will, 'in mere discretion,
We maun hae the Widow's gill.'
"Scotland's Scaith, Or, The History O' Will And Jean. Owre True A Tale. In Two Parts" by Hector MacNeill
"Don't talk!" he cried, as I began
To mutter some excuse.
"Who can have patience with a man
That's got no more discretion than
An idiotic goose?
"Phantasmagoria Canto VI ( Dyscomfyture )" by Lewis Carroll
Peace to the Pipe, that silent Infidel,
Whose spiral-twisted Coils Discretion spell!
How many Kisses has he seen me Give,
How many Take - and yet he will not Tell.
"The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Jr." by Wallace Irwin
What virtue, or what mental grace
But men unqualified and base
Will boast it their possession?
Profusion apes the noble part
Of liberality of heart,
And dulness of discretion.
"Friendship" by William Cowper
As Prudence and Discretion, wealth surpass,
As strength and courage are outdone by grace,
As a good man is of more worth by far
Than riches : (tho' nought can with God compare!)
"The Praise And Commendation Of A Good Woman" by Rees Prichard
AH! think no more that Life's delusive joys,
Can charm my thoughts from FRIENDSHIP'S dearer claim;
Or wound a heart, that scarce a wish employs,
For age to censure, or discretion blame.
"Stanzas to a Friend" by Mary Darby Robinson

In news:

A matter of discretion in immigration reform and Arizona law.
Arguments made in Wednesday's Supreme Court hearing on the Arizona immigration law get to the heart of the national debate: How much discretion to give to police and prosecutors.
Oticon, Inc Introduces Invisible Hearing Device For People Who Want the Ultimate in Discretion .
Bill to dismantle direct-file discretion in cases against young violent offenders is almost criminal.
Edgerton cops retain discretion on 'body cam' use.
Today's Opportunity To Grow Toward Christ- Discretion .
Wisdom is a much-needed treasure for discretion to take place in our moral choices.
Excessive Trading and Unauthorized Discretion In Elderly Clients' Accounts.
Discretion the Better Part of Vallares.
Law enforcement, by nature, requires discretion .
Discretion may be the better part of school discipline.
Feed Industry Urges FDA to Continue Regulatory Discretion for Ingredients.
Cambridge panel sounds off on police discretion , profiling.
Crescent City Connection police seek district attorney's discretion on charges against NOPD officer.
Exempting nearly a million people from the nation's immigration laws is not merely an exercise in "prosecutorial discretion," as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed in the memorandum outlining the change.

In science:

There is an overlapping between the continuous and the discrete part of the spectrum of Lf ree , where in this case the discrete part of the spectrum contains the zero eigenvalue of the generator of the free evolution.
Perturbative method for generalized spectral decompositions
If G is not semi-simple, the center of G is never discrete , hence no centralizer can be discrete.
On the Gribov Problem for Generalized Connections
Since a general subgroup of PSL(2, C) is discrete if and only if each of its 2-generator subgroups is discrete (see e.g. ), the class of the 2-generator Kleinian groups takes on special significance.
Singular sets and parameters of generalized triangle orbifolds
Here I shall illustrate the technique for sampling from an arbitrary discrete distribution f (i), where the random variable takes discrete integer values i between 1 and N .
Monte Carlo: Basics
Moreover, only the topological (discrete) structure of X is involved; if X has a graph structure then the topology is obviously independent of the choice of the edge set (the topology is always the discrete one).
Classification on the average of random walks