[ dih-skresh-uhn ]
See synonyms for discretion on Thesaurus.com
  1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice: It is entirely within my discretion whether I will go or stay.

  2. the quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum: Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.

Idioms about discretion

  1. at discretion, at one's option or pleasure: They were allowed to work overtime at discretion.

Origin of discretion

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English discrecioun, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin discrētiōn-, stem of discrētiō “separation”; equivalent to discreet + -ion

Other words for discretion

Words Nearby discretion

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use discretion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discretion


/ (dɪˈskrɛʃən) /

  1. the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid social embarrassment or distress

  2. freedom or authority to make judgments and to act as one sees fit (esp in the phrases at one's own discretion, at the discretion of)

  1. age of discretion or years of discretion the age at which a person is considered to be able to manage his own affairs

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with discretion


In addition to the idiom beginning with discretion

  • discretion is the better part of valor

also see:

  • throw caution (discretion) to the winds

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.