Discrete means separate or divided. A discrete unit is a separate part of something larger. A room is a discrete space within a house, just as the crankshaft is a discrete part of a car engine.

If something is discrete, it has its own space. An ice cube comes from an ice tray, but it has its own discrete compartment. A student government might have discrete committees for different projects. Don't confuse discrete with its close cousin discreet, which means “appropriately private.” Billionaire Bruce Wayne, for example, is very discreet about his secret life as Batman. You could say Batman is a discrete, or separate, part of Bruce Wayne’s identity. Anything distinct and separated is discrete.

Definitions of discrete
  1. adjective
    constituting a separate entity or part
    “a government with three discrete divisions”
    synonyms: distinct
    independent; not united or joint
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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