Discretely discreet

Ok, I admit it—I have been spelling a word incorrectly.  For most of my life, it discrete_vs_discreetseems I have used the word discrete inappropriately.

So you don’t make the same spelling error, here are the definitions for discreet and discrete.

In my defense, both words come from the same Latin word—discretus.

Discreet–the one with double letter e in the middle means

  • Under the radar, doing something carefully or on the down low. It can also mean cautious, reserved or modest when it relates to speech.

The other discreet means

  • to be politely private about something. If you are discreet, you know of the consequences if someone finds out what you are doing or saying.

Discrete remains closer to its roots, meaning individual, detached, separated:

Remember that the “ee’s” in discreet hide together in the middle of the word, but the “t” in discrete separates them.

I’m glad they sound the same so people were not aware of my faux pas.

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One response to “Discretely discreet

  1. Technically Proficient

    It appears to me that the words could actually be used interchangeably.