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discretion

[dih-skresh-uhn]
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noun
  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.
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Idioms
  1. at discretion, at one's option or pleasure: They were allowed to work overtime at discretion.
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Origin of discretion

1250–1300; Middle English discrecioun < Anglo-French < Late Latin discrētiōn- (stem of discrētiō). See discreet, -ion

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


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British Dictionary definitions for discretion

discretion

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

n.

c.1300, dyscrecyun, "moral discernment," from Old French discrecion or directly from Late Latin discretionem (nominative discretio) "discernment, power to make distinctions," in classical Latin "separation, distinction," noun of state from past participle stem of discernere "to separate, distinguish" (see discern). Phrase at (one's) discretion attested from 1570s, from sense of "power to decide or judge" (late 14c.); the age of discretion (late 14c.) in English law was 14.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with discretion

discretion

In addition to the idiom beginning with discretion

  • discretion is the better part of valor

also see:

  • throw caution (discretion) to the winds
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.