discreet

adjective
dis·​creet | \ di-ˈskrēt How to pronounce discreet (audio) \

Definition of discreet

1 : having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : prudent especially : capable of preserving prudent silence
2 : unpretentious, modest the warmth and discreet elegance of a civilized home— Joseph Wechsberg
3 : unobtrusive, unnoticeable followed at a discreet distance

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from discreet

discreetly adverb
discreetness noun

Examples of discreet in a Sentence

For a couple who wanted a discreet bar between the study and the living room, Quogue, New York, architect Stuart Disston designed a small-scale bar that's hidden behind … doors under the stairs and takes advantage of plumbing in an adjacent powder room. — Sallie Brady, This Old House, January/February 2006 Without the knowledge of the exiled African National Congress leadership, he entered into a discreet dialogue with the South African government—which was reaching a similar conclusion. He later succeeded in convincing suspicious comrades of the need for a negotiated solution. — F. W. De Klerk, Time, 18 Apr. 2005 The New York Stock Exchange, meanwhile, has proposed a rule that would bar a stock-market analyst from talking to newspapers that fail to disclose the analyst's conflicts of interest. Even the C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs, one of Wall Street's most discreet firms, has chimed in … and has extorted his peers to restore "trust in our system." New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2002 Discreet disclaimers by the tourist board to the effect that "there is no evidence whatever that Prince Vlad Tepes (TSEH-pesh), or Vlad the Impaler, inhabited the castle" do nothing to discourage its notoriety as Dracula's reputed residence. Mythically, at least, this is in fact where he lived—and always will. — Erik Sandberg-Diment, New York Times, 21 June 1998 he was very discreet, only saying what was necessary with a discreet gesture, she signalled to her husband that she was ready to leave the party
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Some other nice improvements include removing bulky cooling towers from the roof and a discreet new entrance at the rear of the building. Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, "Change Is Coming to the McGraw-Hill Building’s Art Deco Lobby. Or Is It?," 9 Feb. 2021 Each purchase also comes with discreet billing and shipping, plus a 100 percent money-back guarantee. Norcal Marketing Llc, Chron, "5 Best Male Enhancement Pills: Top Sex Enhancer Supplements For Men 2021," 4 Feb. 2021 His small security detail keeps a discreet distance. Barry Hatton, Star Tribune, "In Portugal presidential race, how high can a populist fly?," 22 Jan. 2021 One lawmaker was missing an iPad from a discreet office. Brett Murphy, USA TODAY, "Dem lawmakers speculate that Capitol rioters may have had GOP help," 15 Jan. 2021 Be discreet when engaged in group activities and discussions in the week ahead. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Nov. 15, 2020: Capricorn, you’ve got Midas touch; Libra, start the day with a smile," 15 Nov. 2020 Many of them started making discreet enquiries, performing the due diligence on both the player and his club — Independiente del Valle — to work out how a deal might be done. New York Times, "Moisés Caicedo and the Perils of Too Much Interest," 21 Jan. 2021 Well, the new mini Uggs are sleeker and more discreet, but still cozy. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Honey, They Shrunk the Ugg Boot," 6 Jan. 2021 Varda’s nonjudgmental approach contrasts the on-the-road story in Nomadland, a new indie film by director-writer Chloé Zhao, that rips off Vagabond and politicizes the aspects of alienation about which Varda was most discreet. Armond White, National Review, "Nomadland Transforms America into Alienation Nation," 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discreet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of discreet

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for discreet

Middle English discrete, discret, discreet "morally discerning, prudent, separate, distinct," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French discret, borrowed from Medieval Latin discrētus "separate, distinct, showing discernment, prudent," going back to Latin, "separated, differentiated," from past participle of discernere "to separate, distinguish" — more at discern

Note: See note at discrete.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about discreet

Time Traveler for discreet

Time Traveler

The first known use of discreet was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for discreet

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discreet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discreet. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for discreet

discreet

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of discreet

: not likely to be seen or noticed by many people

discreet

adjective
dis·​creet | \ dis-ˈkrēt How to pronounce discreet (audio) \

Kids Definition of discreet

: careful not to attract attention or let out private information “ … he must be discreet and say nothing about this visit of mine.”— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

Other Words from discreet

discreetly adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on discreet

What made you want to look up discreet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!