- judicious in one's conduct or speech, especially with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
- showing prudence and circumspection; decorous: a discreet silence.
- modestly unobtrusive; unostentatious: a discreet, finely wrought gold necklace.
Origin of discreet
Examples from the Web for discreetness
Discreetness, therefore, was instructed to reign at the Abbey.The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, Complete
After all, you know, I think that discreetness is just talk.Moral
Would they be boilin' us the night wid the discreetness of 'em?The Belted Seas
You were discreetness itself, and the man you called Barney was a capital actor, and a rare good fellow too.Out of a Labyrinth
Lawrence L. Lynch
You may depend upon me to be discreetness itself, at least until after Dick has been safely shipped.The Snare
- careful to avoid social embarrassment or distress, esp by keeping confidences secret; tactful
Word Origin and History for discreetness
mid-14c., "morally discerning, prudent, circumspect," from Old French discret "discreet, sensible, intelligent, wise," from Latin discretus "separated, distinct," in Medieval Latin "discerning, careful," past participle of discernere "distinguish" (see discern). Meaning "separate, distinct" in English is late 14c.
Spellings discrete and nativized discreet co-existed until after c.1600, when discreet became the common word for "careful, prudent," and discrete was maintained in philosophy, medicine, music and other disciplines that remembered Latin and made effort to obey it. Related: Discreetly.