[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. discreditable,
  2. discreet,
  3. discreetly,
  4. discrepancy,
  5. discrepant,
  6. discrete variable,
  7. discretely,
  8. discretion,
  9. discretion is the better part of valor,
  10. discretional

Origin of discrete

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin discrētus separated; see discreet

Related formsdis·crete·ly, adverbdis·crete·ness, noun

Can be confuseddiscreet discrete

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

British Dictionary definitions for discreteness


/ (dɪsˈkriːt) /


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 discreteness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for discreteness


[ 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.