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[dih-skreet] /dɪˈskrit/
apart or detached from others; separate; distinct:
six discrete parts.
consisting of or characterized by distinct or individual parts; discontinuous.
  1. (of a topology or topological space) having the property that every subset is an open set.
  2. defined only for an isolated set of points:
    a discrete variable.
  3. using only arithmetic and algebra; not involving calculus:
    discrete methods.
Origin of discrete
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin discrētus separated; see discreet
Related forms
discretely, adverb
discreteness, noun
Can be confused
discreet, discrete.
1. different, individual, unconnected. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for discrete
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Moreover, it is a discrete quantity for its parts have no common boundary.

    The Categories Aristotle
  • It replaces the world of the continuum by a world of discrete states.

  • As to number (which is discrete quantity), it is something posterior.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 Plotinos (Plotinus)
  • The manor of the eastern counties is a discrete, a dissipated thing.

    Domesday Book and Beyond

    Frederic William Maitland
  • What discrete succession of images did Stephen meanwhile perceive?

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for discrete


separate or distinct in form or concept
consisting of distinct or separate parts
  1. (of a variable) having consecutive values that are not infinitesimally close, so that its analysis requires summation rather than integration
  2. (of a distribution) relating to a discrete variable Compare continuous (sense 4)
Derived Forms
discretely, adverb
discreteness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin discrētus separated, set apart; see discreet
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for discrete

late 14c., see discreet. Related: Discretely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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discrete in Medicine

discrete dis·crete (dĭ-skrēt')
Not joined to or incorporated with another; separate; distinct.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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