Discrete and DiscreetThe words discrete and discreet sound identical, but their meanings are different (i.e., they are homonyms).
DiscreteThe adjective discrete means individually distinct or separate (i.e., something that is not part of something else).
- There is a rack on the bench that contains all the discrete electronic components.
- Our club has three discrete membership categories.
DiscreetThe adjective discreet means respecting secrecy, inconspicuous, or diplomatic.
- You can trust my aide — he is very discreet.
- The painting was won by a discreet telephone bidder.
A Quick Test
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Ways to Remember Discrete and DiscreetWith discrete the e's are separated. Let this remind you that discrete means individually distinct.
With discreet the two e's look like shifty eyes. Let this remind you that discreet means secretive.