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Word of the Day
Friday, June 09, 2006

Definitions for discrete

  1. Constituting a separate thing; distinct.
  2. Consisting of distinct or unconnected parts.
  3. (Mathematics) Defined for a finite or countable set of values; not continuous.

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Citations for discrete
Niels Bohr, working with Rutherford in 1912, was intensely aware... of the need for a radically new approach. This he found in quantum theory, which postulated that electromagnetic energy -- light, radiation -- was not continuous but emitted or absorbed in discrete packets, or "quanta." Oliver Sacks, New York Times Magazine
Llinas compared these studies to phrenology, the eighteenth-century pseudoscience that divided the brain into discrete chunks dedicated to specific functions. John Horgan, The Undiscovered Mind
Origin of discrete
Discrete is from Latin discretus, past participle of discernere, "to separate; to set apart," from dis-, "apart" + cernere, "to distinguish; to sift." It is not to be confused with discreet.