V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. capable of keeping secrets; 2. careful to avoid embarrassing or upsetting others

Synonyms: prudent, tactful, careful, cautious, diplomatic, discerning, guarded, judicious

Antonyms: rash, tactless, injudicious, gossipy

Tips: Discreet comes from the Latin word discretus, "to distinguish." Its modern meaning carries a sense of having good judgment, and thus being able to distinguish between prudent and imprudent behavior and choose the prudent course. The related noun discretion refers to a choice that is up to someone to make, or the quality of being sensitive and socially adept. Use discreet to describe someone who is good at keeping secrets, or use discreet to describe someone who is socially adept and uses good judgment to avoid embarrassing remarks or behavior. Do not confuse discreet with its homonym discrete. See discrete to learn the difference. Discreet is synonymous with tactful. See tactful for additional analysis.

Usage Examples:

I trust his judgment, so I will leave the decision to his discretion. (choice, freedom to decide) noun

All her friends knew that Kelly was very discreet, so they told her all the secrets they wouldn't tell anyone else. (tactful, guarded)

She discreetly asked him how he was doing after his divorce. (cautiously, carefully) adverb

It was not very discreet of him to ask the woman if she was pregnant, since it turns out she isn't. (prudent, tactful, diplomatic)

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