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

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
Recent Examples on the Web The base model will be fine, but most will want to upgrade to a discrete graphics card — and anyone that does will be extremely happy. Christian De Looper, BGR, 30 July 2022 Of course, the ThinkPad Extreme with its discrete RTX 3070 graphics card blew away the other machines here. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 8 July 2022 Hanzman, meanwhile, had ordered a trial on one discrete issue, only to reverse course and sign an order to try all outstanding claims. Christian Red, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 Joan and Jayne Michael opted to divide the ground floor into discrete spaces. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, 13 July 2022 Inspired in part by the way rippling water scattered colored light, such impressionist painters as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir had broken images into visibly discrete brushstrokes of high-keyed color. Washington Post, 13 July 2022 For now, Horizon Worlds is a discrete app that users must manually select and boot. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 9 July 2022 That describes how something flows through a region in discrete quantities. Sumeet Kulkarni, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2022 But these experts can provide perspective on only discrete pieces of the larger puzzle. Judith D. Auerbach And Andrew D. Forsyth, STAT, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discrete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrete. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for discrete


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

More from Merriam-Webster on discrete

Nglish: Translation of discrete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discrete for Arabic Speakers


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