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 It can be run using the integrated graphics or discrete graphics plugged into the baseboard. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel's Ghost Canyon NUC and Compute Element: 10 questions and intriguing facts," 24 Jan. 2020 Other team members, including Dershowitz, expect to give discrete presentations on specific topics. Laura Davison, BostonGlobe.com, "Dershowitz says voters should judge Trump’s conduct," 19 Jan. 2020 No longer isolated in discrete planes, color pulses across the grid in small, staccato units, like traffic moving across town, or notes on a musical score. Max Norman, The New Yorker, "Does “Late Style” Exist?," 13 Jan. 2020 After months of teasing and social media hype, Intel finally showed off a system running its first-ever discrete graphics chip, based on the company’s forthcoming Xe architecture. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Here's Destiny 2 being played on Intel's first Xe discrete graphics chip," 9 Jan. 2020 The small, discrete devices are the most popular brand among underage users. Matthew Perrone, Fortune, "Vaping Industry Gets a Minty Respite From Trump’s Flavor Ban," 2 Jan. 2020 The small, discrete devices are the most popular brand among underage users. Washington Post, "Trump’s plan to curb teen vaping exempts some flavors," 2 Jan. 2020 Areas of Belgium and northern France, where western-front battles took place from 1914 to 1918, were nearly leveled as were similar discrete areas on the Italian-Austrian frontier and where Russia faced Austria and Germany. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Myths of war fog its economic costs," 29 Dec. 2019 Meanwhile, creator, head writer and showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (Daredevil, The Defenders) has to fill in three detailed backstories, as well as sketch out several discrete races, locations and societies. Judy Berman, Time, "Netflix’s The Witcher Is the Latest Disaster in a Year of Terrible Post-Game of Thrones Fantasy TV," 20 Dec. 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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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

31 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discrete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discreteness. Accessed 24 Feb. 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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