Discrete and Discreet

What is the difference between discrete and discreet?

Discrete means individually distinct. For example: Discreet means inconspicuous. For example:

Discrete and Discreet

The words discrete and discreet sound identical, but their meanings are different (i.e., they are homonyms).


The adjective discrete means individually distinct or separate (i.e., something that is not part of something else).



The adjective discreet means respecting secrecy, inconspicuous, or diplomatic.


A Quick Test

Ways to Remember Discrete and Discreet

With discrete the e's are separated. Let this remind you that discrete means individually distinct.

With discreet the two e's look like shifty eyes. Let this remind you that discreet means secretive.

Discrete Variables

In Mathematics, there is a type of variable called a discrete variable. A discrete variable is one that cannot take on all values within its range. For example, in a survey, you might be asked to rate a holiday from 1 to 5. In this survey, you cannot choose 1.7 or 3.4. You can only choose 1,2,3,4 or 5. You cannot pick any values in between. The survey expects you to select a discrete variable.

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See Also

What are adjectives? List of easily confused words