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 Even the staunchest conservative political leaders now recommend that people wear masks in most public places and wherever maintaining a discrete six feet of social distance isn’t possible. Megan Molteni, Wired, "How Masks Went From Don’t-Wear to Must-Have," 2 July 2020 There are two types of GPUs: integrated and discrete. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "How to build a gaming PC — and why you should," 30 June 2020 Our existing healthcare disaster responses are oriented for single, discrete events affecting a city or region. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "Esther Choo says we need to use this moment to resolve inequalities in healthcare," 30 June 2020 Intel has said previously that its first entry into the discrete GPU graphics market should take place this year, though the marketing guru behind the effort, Chris Hook, jumped ship at the end of 2019. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Acer's $999 Swift 5 could be the first Tiger Lake ultralight laptop," 23 June 2020 Researchers led by geochemist Thomas Knott of the University of Leicester in England first analyzed volcanic deposits that were previously believed to belong to smaller discrete eruptions. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Biggest Ever Yellowstone Eruption Revealed," 15 June 2020 There is the risk for a couple discrete supercells ahead of the squall line with the potential for a couple tornadoes and large hail possible. Mike Rose, cleveland, "Cooler weather returns: Northeast Ohio’s Thursday forecast," 10 June 2020 Atoms in the detector can be thought of as free particles, discrete and unconnected to one another. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Direct Proof of Dark Matter May Lurk at Low-Energy Frontiers," 9 June 2020 There may be solidarity among discrete groups; there may be common feeling between like-minded people who, to name one example, agree to wear masks or shelter in place for the benefit of everyone. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "Yet Another Summer of Discontent in America," 31 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for discrete

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for discrete

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discrete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrete. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for discrete


How to pronounce discrete (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discrete

formal : separate and different from each other


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.


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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