Unique definitions: Discreet vs. discrete

Sometimes, flipping a letter in a word can lead to quite radical results – like an entirely different definition. Such is the case with discreet vs. discrete.

Discreet means to conduct oneself in a prudent or judicious manner. To wit, Jane always was discrete about their liaisons when her lover’s spouse was with him.

Flip the last e with the t, however, and you get discrete, which means distinct or separate. For example, The introduction, body and conclusion paragraphs are discrete sections of an academic essay.

Here’s a quick memory trick for spelling the words: “The e’s are separate in discrete.”