See more synonyms for discrete on Thesaurus.com
  1. apart or detached from others; separate; distinct: six discrete parts.
  2. consisting of or characterized by distinct or individual parts; discontinuous.
  3. Mathematics.
    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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for discreteness


  1. separate or distinct in form or concept
  2. consisting of distinct or separate parts
  3. statistics
    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 discreteness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

discreteness in Medicine


  1. 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.