1. The quality of being discreet; circumspection: "the almost unknown young man who lived in the upper room ... coming and going with discretion" (Doris Lessing).
2. Freedom to act or judge on one's own: All the decisions were left to our discretion.
3. Archaic The ability or power to discern what is responsible or socially appropriate: "She had even condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, provided he chose with discretion" (Jane Austen).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.