The adjective discrete ( discerno from lat 3 - CREVI, Cretu, separate ' secrete ', ' distinguished ') was in the 16th century from the French discret, discreet ' borrowed. Commonly used it means " concealed ", " cautious ", also " handled gracefully / run ", probably from the use of discretus for " capable of distinguishing perceive " derived. Also in the 16th century came the abstraction of discretion for " secrecy ", " tactful restraint" on. The other formations " not concealed " indiscreet and indiscretion for " tactless ", " intrusive " and " talkativeness ", " indiscretion ", " intrusiveness " originated in the 18th century.

In science and technology is meant by discrete direct derived " distinct" or " taken out of a tiered set of values ​​" " separable ", " countable "; see also digital signal and quantization. Thus, the adjective comes for example in terms of discrete mathematics, discrete topology, discrete order, discrete Fourier transform, discrete cosine transform, discrete logarithm, discrete subset, discrete metric, discrete uniform distribution or in discrete component and the like more ago. Mathematical abstractions are too discreet discreetness and discretization, the contrast in the scientific use is continuous (see continuity and continuum ).