Definition of DISCRETE

DISCRETE Adjective

Discrete functions as an adjective, describing entities or elements that are separate, distinct, or individually identifiable. Whether used as an adjective or a concept, it denotes the presence of distinct boundaries or separations between different components or units.

As an adjective, discrete characterizes objects, phenomena, or variables that are distinct, separate, or independent of one another. It implies the absence of continuous connection or overlap between individual elements, emphasizing their individuality, uniqueness, or separateness.

Distinct and Separate: Discrete entities or elements are characterized by clear boundaries, separations, or divisions that distinguish them from others. They may exist as individual units or components within a larger system, with each unit maintaining its identity or integrity without merging or blending with adjacent elements.

Quantitative Discreteness: In mathematics and statistics, discrete variables or values are those that can only take distinct, separate values, typically integers or whole numbers. Unlike continuous variables, which can assume any value within a range, discrete variables are countable and non-continuous, with gaps or discontinuities between successive values.

Qualitative Discreteness: Discrete attributes or qualities refer to distinct categories, classes, or states that are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. They represent non-overlapping classifications or classifications with clear boundaries, such as binary categories (e.g., true/false, on/off) or nominal categories (e.g., colors, shapes).

Application in Computing: In computer science and digital technology, discrete data or signals represent information that is represented by distinct, separate values or states. This includes digital signals, binary code, or discrete data structures such as arrays or lists, where individual elements are treated as separate entities.

Engineering and Design: In engineering and design, discrete components or systems refer to those composed of distinct, separable parts or units. This may include discrete electronic components in circuit design, discrete elements in structural engineering, or discrete units in manufacturing processes.


Discrete means individually separate and distinct. It’s often used in contexts related to mathematics, where it refers to distinct and separate values or elements, while Discreet means careful, cautious, or showing good judgment in behavior or speech in order to avoid causing offense or drawing attention.

So, the choice between “discrete” and “discreet” depends on the context and the intended meaning of the sentence.

In conclusion, discrete as an adjective embodies the quality of being separate, distinct, or individually identifiable. Whether applied to mathematical variables, qualitative attributes, digital signals, or engineering components, discrete entities or elements are characterized by clear boundaries, separations, or distinctions that highlight their individuality and non-continuous nature. Understanding the concept of discreteness is essential for various fields, including mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering, where precise delineation and analysis of distinct components or units are fundamental to problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Examples of DISCRETE in a sentence

  • The course covered both discrete mathematics, focusing on individual elements, and continuous functions in calculus.
  • In computer science, algorithms often deal with discrete data points, making decisions based on individual values.
  • The chapters in the book are organized into discrete sections, each addressing a specific topic without significant overlap.
  • The researcher analyzed the dataset, identifying discrete patterns that represented distinct trends in the data.
  • The company adopted a discrete approach to project management, breaking down tasks into individual components for better control.
  • Students in the physics lab conducted experiments to study the behaviour of discrete particles in various conditions.
  • The software engineer implemented a discrete algorithm to process individual data points efficiently.
  • The artist’s paintings often depict scenes with discrete elements, each contributing to the overall composition.

Etymology of DISCRETE 

The term “discrete” originates from the Latin word “discretus,” which is the past participle of “discernere,” meaning “to separate” or “to distinguish.” Here’s the breakdown:

  • Discernere (Latin): Referring to “to separate” or “to distinguish.”
  • Discretus (Latin): Past participle of “discernere,” indicating something that has been separated or distinguished.
  • Discrete (Modern English): Evolved from Latin, retaining the sense of being separate or distinct, often used in mathematics and other contexts to describe individual, separate entities or values.

Therefore, “discrete” originally described something that has been distinguished or separated from others, and it now primarily refers to individual, separate entities or values within a larger context.


  • Separate
  • Distinct
  • Individual
  • Detached
  • Independent
  • Unconnected
  • Disjoined
  • Segregated


  • Continuous
  • Connected
  • Unified
  • Integrated
  • Continuous
  • Attached
  • Combined
  • Conjoined
  • Segmented
  • Isolated
  • Disassociated
  • Discreet
  • Particular
  • Sequestered
  • Fragmented
  • Uninterrupted

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