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

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

The royal’s discreet accessory, which comes in a variety of colors, is much thinner and almost impossible to detect. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Middleton Just Got Caught Wearing a Hairnet Over Her Flawless Second-Day Updo," 10 July 2018 His formula is simple: a smart, inviting décor that feels like summer vacations and a variety of Instagram-worthy sandwiches which suggest a discreet luxury. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "First look: East Hampton Sandwich Co.," 31 May 2018 The Willow website is filled with pictures of women pushing swings, hiking with golden retrievers, and plucking berries from a bowl, discreet half-moons of plastic peeping from their bras. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Test-Driving Willow, the Breast Pump That You Can Wear Under Your Clothes," 2 July 2018 But one thing is the same across all Aman properties: an intimate, incredibly discreet experience within an expansive environment. Sunhee Grinnell, Vanities, "Inside Amanyara, a Peaceful Sanctuary in Turks and Caicos," 15 May 2018 Objects and discreet design accessories have been featured on the site in the past, but last year Santo Domingo orchestrated a capsule tabletop collection from Cabana, the design magazine by T&C European editor at large Martina Mondadori Sartogo. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Exclusive: Lauren Santo Domingo Talks About the Launch of Moda Operandi Home," 26 Apr. 2018 That was some achievement for a discreet investigator dedicated to the sanctity of blind justice. The Economist, "Bitter attack on Trump by the FBI’s former director," 21 Apr. 2018 Did we, by chance, miss some sort of discreet signals in their body language that would have given us reason to believe separation was imminent? Alex Warner, Marie Claire, "An In-Depth Analysis of Jennifer Aniston's Body Language with Justin Theroux Versus Brad Pitt," 26 Feb. 2018 Timothy had recently been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and the school — which came with spacious hallways, discreet changing rooms, small class sizes, and an on-site nurse — seemed like the perfect match. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit parents, teachers and youth push back on 'school choice' at education town hall," 14 Feb. 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.

See More

First Known Use of discreet

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for discreet

Middle English, from Anglo-French discret, from Medieval Latin discretus, from Latin, past participle of discernere to separate, distinguish between — more at discern

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about discreet

Statistics for discreet

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discreet

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for discreet



English Language Learners Definition of discreet

: not likely to be seen or noticed by many people


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

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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