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

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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

The Jenner sisters, Scott, and Simmons were discreet about their attendance, but some indoor shots from the party—which took place at Delilah in West Hollywood—showed them in the crowd. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall and Kylie Went to Drake's New Year's Eve Party Amidst His Feud with Kanye," 2 Jan. 2019 Demo videos show electronics sliding out of discreet compartments embedded in the upholstery. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Renault's New Self-Driving Concept Car Is an Ultra-Luxe Lounge on Wheels," 3 Oct. 2018 But on March 15, federal prosecutors allege, Mr. Geragos tried to arrange a discreet meeting of a different kind between Nike and another controversial client. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "How Colin Kaepernick’s Lawyer Dealt With Nike and Became Entangled in Extortion Charges," 26 Mar. 2019 The hotel has been through many changes and was most recently sold to a discreet American couple who had spent many summers enjoying the wines in the region and were former guests of the property. Samantha Tse, Allure, "I Went to the Champagne Region in France to Get a Facial and My Skin Has Never Looked Better," 26 Mar. 2019 The itinerary still oozes with ceremony — all cleverly taking place at a discreet distance from the mob. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "In Britain, Trump will see castles and the queen and steer clear of protesters," 6 July 2018 The grants have emerged as high schools struggle to rein in booming teen use of the devices, sometimes threatening students with suspensions or installing alarms that can detect the devices' discreet vapor. Collin Binkley, chicagotribune.com, "Vaping essays: E-cigarette sellers offering scholarships," 8 June 2018 In bedrooms and across tables, Jeanne, Ariane and Gilles pour out their hearts and reflect on love as they — word by word and with discreet and grand gestures — stake claims on one or another’s affections. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Review: A Man and a Woman (and Another Woman) in ‘Lover for a Day’," 11 Jan. 2018 PicoPad Food Journal This discreet and tiny journal is credit card sized and unfolds like an accordian to reveal pages for food documentation. Abby Cuffey, Woman's Day, "Journal Your Way to Weight Loss," 3 Jan. 2011

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

22 Apr 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 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

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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

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