- 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 discreetly
The traffic agent was kind enough to direct Sarah discreetly to a closed-off street running behind the arena.Synagogue Slay: When Cops Have to Kill
December 10, 2014
The novel also has a second gay character, in the form many are familiar with—the wise, kind, but discreetly gay uncle.Popular Novelist Ken Follett Is a Slightly Unlikely and Certainly Unsung Gay Icon
October 1, 2014
Still, Samore added that on two occasions the Russians had discreetly warned Assad about using the weapons.Obama’s Plan B for Securing Assad’s Chemical Weapons
September 23, 2013
"Correa has been discreetly making gestures to come closer to Western powers," Palacio says.Ecuador Needs U.S. Aid. Will They Risk It All with Snowden?
June 26, 2013
So far Elisabeth has managed to discreetly distance herself from the train crash at the newspapers.Elisabeth Murdoch Takes Aim at News Corp.
August 24, 2012
Whereupon Bandy-legs discreetly allowed Max to pass him also.With Trapper Jim in the North Woods
Lawrence J. Leslie
Mr. Bentham discreetly ignored the covert threat in Wrayson's words.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
I questioned when I should once have discreetly inclined the head and held my peace.The First Violin
Since that day she had grumbled about him again, but discreetly, with a certain vagueness.A Spirit in Prison
But Mathieu, keeping his promise to Constance, discreetly began his researches.Fruitfulness
- careful to avoid social embarrassment or distress, esp by keeping confidences secret; tactful
Word Origin and History for discreetly
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.