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 formsdis·crete·ly, adverbdis·crete·ness, noun
Can be confuseddiscreet discrete

Synonyms for discrete

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for discretely

differently, independently, individually, separately, singly

Examples from the Web for discretely

Contemporary Examples of discretely

  • They hear the happy talk and they shake their heads or roll their eyes (discretely) and wonder what these people are smoking.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tri-Polar Zionists

    Kathleen Peratis

    March 5, 2013

Historical Examples of discretely

  • If science is discretely silent about these things, what can the more venturesome and less responsible imagination suggest?

    Curiosities of the Sky

    Garrett Serviss

British Dictionary definitions for discretely



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 variableCompare continuous (def. 4)
Derived Formsdiscretely, adverbdiscreteness, noun

Word Origin for discrete

C14: from Latin discrētus separated, set apart; see discreet


Avoid confusion with 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

Word Origin and History for discretely



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

discretely in Medicine




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.