discrete

adjective
dis·​crete | \ di-ˈskrēt How to pronounce discrete (audio) , ˈdis-ˌ\

Definition of discrete

1 : constituting a separate entity : individually distinct several discrete sections
2a : consisting of distinct or unconnected elements : noncontinuous
b : taking on or having a finite or countably infinite number of values discrete probabilities a discrete random variable

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Other Words from discrete

discretely adverb
discreteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for discrete

distinct, separate, discrete mean not being each and every one the same. distinct indicates that something is distinguished by the mind or eye as being apart or different from others. two distinct versions separate often stresses lack of connection or a difference in identity between two things. separate rooms discrete strongly emphasizes individuality and lack of connection. broke the job down into discrete stages

Examples of discrete in a Sentence

The idea is to disconnect the memory from the reactions to the memory, so that although the memory of the traumatic event remains, the everyday things that can trigger fear and panic, such as trash blowing across the interstate or a car backfiring … are restored to insignificance. The trauma thus becomes a discrete event, not a constant, self-replicating, encompassing condition. — Sue Halpern, New Yorker, 19 May 2008 Eliminating stress entirely is not an option. If there are discrete sources of stress in your life—a relationship, a job, a health problem—you can and should take action to try to mitigate them. But my experience is that we all are subject to a kind of conservation law of stress. If stress recedes in one area, it seems to increase in another. Time, 17 Oct. 2005 The newer, digital phones broadcast their communications in discrete bursts of energy, whereas analog devices employ continuous signals. — Janet Raloff, Science News, 12 Feb. 2000 several discrete sections to this vast medical complex, including a college of pharmacology and a research center
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Recent Examples on the Web

There has to be proof of a discrete criminal transaction that amounts to a new offense. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Acosta’s Sweetheart Deal Likely to Foreclose Epstein’s SDNY Prosecution," 13 July 2019 If anything, the bevy of new findings should have only complicated our understanding of population history and destabilized old notions of discrete racial and ethnic groups. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "When Ancient DNA Gets Politicized," 12 July 2019 In a flash, the fish — that smash of colors — awakens and becomes discrete from its surroundings. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Brilliant color, and glimmers of more," 3 July 2019 Scientists have watched that process through a microscope for decades: The DNA condenses and organizes into discrete units that gradually shorten and widen. Quanta Magazine, "How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes," 22 Feb. 2018 The battlefields looked like barbecue grills—not arrangements of discrete wrecks and craters, but greasy charcoal melted to the pavement. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "Marmalade Sky," 24 June 2019 Doctors, nurses, and other providers across the country have made some progress in discrete areas: fewer patients contract certain infections in hospitals, and bar codes have reduced medication mix-ups. Liz Kowalczyk, BostonGlobe.com, "Medical errors prevalent and costly, new survey of Massachusetts residents shows," 10 June 2019 But at least for tabletop games like those, the potential moves are discrete and don't require real-time decision-making. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Quake III Arena is the latest game to see AI top humans," 30 May 2019 The Envy 17 is built for better performance, with Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "The HP Envy Wood Series puts real walnut or birch in five stylish laptops," 28 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discrete.' 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 discrete

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for discrete

Middle English discrete, discret, discreet — more at discreet

Note: The adjective discrete is etymologically identical with discreet, of which it was originally a simple spelling variant. The consistent discrimination of the two senses by spelling, with discrete corresponding more closely to classical Latin in both form and meaning, dates from the 18th century.

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Statistics for discrete

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for discrete

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

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More Definitions for discrete

discrete

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of discrete

formal : separate and different from each other

discrete

adjective
dis·​crete | \ di-ˈskrēt How to pronounce discrete (audio) \

Kids Definition of discrete

: separate entry 2 sense 3, distinct The report is divided into discrete sections.

discrete

adjective
dis·​crete | \ dis-ˈkrēt, ˈdis-ˌ How to pronounce discrete (audio) \

Medical Definition of discrete

: characterized by distinct unconnected lesions discrete smallpox — compare confluent sense 2

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