View synonyms for discretion


[ dih-skresh-uhn ]


  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.

    Synonyms: sense, discrimination, wisdom, judgment


/ 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 )
  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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Word History and Origins

Origin of discretion1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at discretion, at one's option or pleasure:

    They were allowed to work overtime at discretion.

More idioms and phrases containing discretion

In addition to the idiom beginning with discretion , also see throw caution (discretion) to the winds .

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Example Sentences

Through a spokesman, Freddie Mac said that such locks are an important part of its business model, and that timing is at the borrower’s discretion.

The clinic said that an officer in such a situation has no discretion.

Experts tell me that the president actually has a lot of power at his discretion to contest the election, and some of the scenarios that could bring us to the edge of a crisis are actually very plausible.

An ADP spokesperson told Fortune that clients who use its TotalSource product will not have an option to take part in the deferral, but other clients will be able to suspend the Social Security collection at their discretion.

From Fortune

Their business is nearly 100% repeat and referral, a testament to their high ethical standards, strong negotiating skills, energy, and discretion.

The town of Paradise told parents that trick-or-treating was “at your discretion.”

According to owner Argiros, the answer is amiable discretion.

The overriding theme of the hundreds of interviews Newman had granted is his discretion.

And so we get policies where parents are given no discretion over whether or not to keep their kids home.

How from now on we were going to be seeing in Prince Harry nothing but a model of discretion, seriousness and best behaviour?

He had, however, recovered sufficiently to enable him to act with promptitude and discretion.

I knew you would, dear Mr Brammel—a gentleman of your discretion would not fail to do so.

"The Seorita is a pearl of prudence and discretion: do whatever she desired you," said Alphonse.

They are all sworn to the closest secrecy; have been told that our lives depend upon their discretion.

Whether a dividend shall be declared, and also the amount, are questions lying largely within the discretion of the directors.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




discrete variablediscretional