Angela’s ABCs: Words Easily Confused – Discreet and Discrete


This is an adjective meaning prudent, circumspect, modest, self-restrained and tactful.

  • Although she was extremely wealthy, she dressed in a discreet way and shopped in downmarket places.
  • I desperately wanted to confide in someone about my problems, but it was difficult to know who would keep things to themselves and be totally discreet.


This is an adjective meaning distinct or separate and is used to identify a particular whole as having distinct, separate, or non-continuous parts.

  • The facility had several discrete resources: a pharmacy, a detox centre, a crisis care provision and a health centre.
  • Words are produced as a continuous sound signal rather than discrete sound units.

Distinguishing Discreet and Discrete

One way to remember the difference between discrete and discreet is to think that discrete means separated into distinct parts and the two e’s at the end are separated. Discreet, on the other hand, is about keeping things under wraps and the e’s are closed up within the end of the word.

Noun Forms of Discreet and Discrete

The noun form of discreet is discretion. However, the noun form of discrete is discreteness.



2 Comments on “Angela’s ABCs: Words Easily Confused – Discreet and Discrete

  1. Never used discrete myself because I had no idea what it meant (I know, dictionary (doh).So, thank you Angela

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