discreet

adjective
dis·​creet | \ di-ˈskrēt \

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mourners, terrified of being outed, planned a discreet exit out a side door. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "In 1973, an Arsonist Killed 32 People at a Gay Club. Why Has History Shrugged?," 29 May 2018 Egypt’s version, which is a little more discreet version of the board game look, works better for me. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "A Fashion Expert and a Football Expert Had a Conversation About World Cup Kits," 15 June 2018 The discreet plaque beside the office door read: Chief Liaison Officer to the Japanese Government, Charles Yardley III. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Two unlikely cops are paired up to solve murders in a war-torn Tokyo in Ninth Step Station," 8 Dec. 2018 Once a day for about a week, rub diluted tea tree oil (or the product in question) on a discreet patch of skin, like your forearm. Krissy Brady, SELF, "What Tea Tree Oil Can and Can’t Do for Your Skin," 4 Oct. 2018 While chewing gum will stimulate more salivary flow and help prevent tooth decay in addition to freshening you up, sometimes the situation calls for something a little more discreet. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 8 Best Breath Mints to Carry Around With You All Day," 7 Dec. 2018 In the resulting shakeup, hacking shifted to the Ministry of State Security, which pursued a more discreet and professional approach. Mara Hvistendahl, WSJ, "‘Dawn of the Code War’ Review: The Cyber Threat Reconsidered," 3 Dec. 2018 So Brandy turned to the website Ashley Madison, where married people looking to have discreet affairs can connect with one another. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "New Study Finds Women Are Happier In Affairs Than Men," 30 July 2018 Another day, another role for Hugh Grant as a British politician carrying out a discreet love affair. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘A Very English Scandal’ and ‘Kiss Me First’," 29 June 2018

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.

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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.

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Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for discreet

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

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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 \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on discreet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with discreet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for discreet

Spanish Central: Translation of discreet

Nglish: Translation of discreet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discreet for Arabic Speakers

Comments on discreet

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