Discreet describes someone or something that is appropriately quiet, prudent, and restrained. If you are wearing a discreet gray suit, it is unlikely that anyone at that business meeting will notice you.

Often people use discreet not only to indicate modesty or carefulness, but also to show a sort of secretiveness along the lines of “You're going to keep this a secret, right?” If no one in your family knows that you like to dress up as a bear, but then your cousin finds out, you may ask him to please be discreet.

Definitions of discreet
  1. adjective
    marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
    “his trusted discreet aide”
    “a discreet, finely wrought gold necklace”
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    lacking discretion; injudicious
    bigmouthed, blabbermouthed, blabby, talkative
    unwisely talking too much
    lacking wise self-restraint
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    not obtrusive or undesirably noticeable
    synonyms: unnoticeable, unobtrusive
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    noticeable, obtrusive
    undesirably noticeable
  3. adjective
    unobtrusively perceptive and sympathetic
    “a discreet silence”
    synonyms: discerning
    having or showing a sense of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others
  4. adjective
    heedful of potential consequences
    “a discreet investor”
    synonyms: circumspect
    careful and sensible; marked by sound judgment
Commonly confused words

discreet / discrete

Discreet means on the down low, under the radar, careful, but discrete means individual or detached. They come from the same ultimate source, the Latin discrētus, for separated or distinct, but discreet has taken its own advice and quietly gone its separate way.

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Word Family

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