1. Possessed of, exercising, or showing prudence and self-restraint in speech and behavior; circumspect: The teacher was discreet in discussing the student's behavior. We followed him but kept a discreet distance.
2. Made, done, or situated so as to attract little notice: made a discreet exit out the back door; lovers seeking a discreet place to meet.
[Middle English, from Old French discret, from Medieval Latin discrētus, from Latin, past participle of discernere, to separate, discern; see DISCERN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.