- (of a topology or topological space) having the property that every subset is an open set.
- defined only for an isolated set of points: a discrete variable.
- using only arithmetic and algebra; not involving calculus: discrete methods.
Origin of discrete
OTHER WORDS FROM discretedis·crete·ly, adverbdis·crete·ness, noun
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH discretediscreet, discrete
Words nearby discrete
DISCRETE VS. DISCREET
What’s the difference between discrete and discreet?
Discrete means separate or distinct, as in discrete concepts or discrete parts. Discreet most commonly means tactful, prudent, or careful to avoid revealing things that may cause embarrassment, such as when communicating sensitive information, as in a discreet message or You can tell her, but be discreet about it.
Less commonly, discreet can also mean unobtrusive—a modest necklace may be described as discreet. In all cases, the word discreet is used in situations in which an effort is made to avoid calling attention to someone or something. When you’re being discreet, you’re showing discretion.
Discrete, on the other hand, is typically used in technical, non-personal contexts. It has more specific meanings in the context of math and statistics.
Here’s a fun way to remember the difference: in discreet, the two e’s are right next to each other—the one e looks like it’s discreetly whispering something in the other’s ear. In discrete, the two e’s are kept separate by the t in the middle.
Here’s an example of discrete and discreet used correctly in a sentence.
Example: He mistakenly thought the two parts were discrete, but I told him that they are in fact connected—in a discreet way, of course.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between discrete and discreet.
Quiz yourself on discrete vs. discreet!
Should discrete or discreet be used in the following sentence?
In my mind, these two topics are entirely _____—they don’t overlap at all.
How to use discrete in a sentence
In 1990, Keresztély Corrádi and Sándor Szabó came up with just such a discrete object.
In other words, rather than looking at nematode worm genes, we have a discrete population of humans who’ve already won the genetic lottery when it comes to aging.The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life Is in the Genes of the Oldest Humans Alive|Shelly Fan|August 10, 2020|Singularity Hub
Backlinks should be included in a discrete and meaningful way.Nine mistakes to avoid when contacting websites for backlinks|Raj Dosanjh|July 29, 2020|Search Engine Watch
Molecular biologists must pinpoint which genes out of many thousands interact as a discrete network to produce a given trait.What Is an Individual? Biology Seeks Clues in Information Theory.|Jordana Cepelewicz|July 16, 2020|Quanta Magazine
To break these tasks down into little discrete jobs that could be performed really without much skill or knowledge.
And it has become a system far more driven by the demands of branding and marketing than by recognizing clearly discrete locality.Napa’s Earthquake Is Not The Only Thing Shaking The Vineyards|Clive Irving|August 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
At this point, the output becomes the digital, discrete signal.
It was carried out over a period of a little more than two years in four discrete, limited-time operations.
The Executive is elected in broad national elections in which discrete and insular minorities carry less weight.Senate Democrats Just Took Us a Step Closer to the Imperial Presidency|David Frum|December 1, 2013|DAILY BEAST
I finished a novel, El héroe discrete, that will be published in September in Spanish.The Politics of Literature: An interview with Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa|Michael Moynihan|October 10, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The lesions in this disease are commonly discrete—separate one from another—but they may be crowded together.Essays In Pastoral Medicine|Austin Malley
It seems that we have above treated of quantity, and classified both discrete and continuous quantity38 among other "beings."
This then is the element common to number (the discrete quantity), and to continuous dimension.
Musical tones are discrete,—the voice passes from pitch to pitch through the intervals silently.The Ontario Readers: The High School Reader, 1886|Ministry of Education
Even the nervous system, which appears to act as a co-ordinating centre, is itself an aggregate of discrete cells.Form and Function|E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
British Dictionary definitions for discrete
- (of a variable) having consecutive values that are not infinitesimally close, so that its analysis requires summation rather than integration
- (of a distribution) relating to a discrete variableCompare continuous (def. 4)