Considering that my discrete math teacher preached about this very point during the first lecture of this semester, perhaps it is noteworthy. I must admit, even I, at a glance, used to confuse the words (I'm not big on spelling).

The word discreet refers to the characteristic of showing prudence, wise self-restraint, or circumspection in speech and behavior. Think modesty. For instance, a discreet person, when suffering from a brutal gas attack in the middle of a dinner party, would not lift his leg right then and there, and bust some big time ass. The discreet person would remove himself from the company of others, perhaps dodge into the bathroom on the excuse of needing to wash up, and let the gas flow - safe from the nostrils of others.

On the other hand, the word discrete is a word commonly used in mathematics, engineering, and science (primarily computer science) to denote either distinct "packages" of information, data, etc., or more generally, a distinct or finite set of values. Contrast the idea of discrete with the idea of infinity - discrete is unique, and infinity is all-encompassing, or in the form of a series whose parts are not observably distinct from eachother. Once again, we lend credence to an example. We return to our farter at the dinner party. For the sake of all that is good and pure, the man decided to go to the bathroom to relieve his bowel demons. When he got there, he leaned against the sink, and let out a good fart. But, what kind of fart was it? Was it a clean, smooth, gaseous wind of methane? No. Those seemingly infinite farts, while pleasurable and convenient, are far too rare for this man to have any chance of experiencing tonight. This man had a series of discrete farts.

"Chirpppp-chiiirrrrpppp-pop-pop-poooop-poit." How do we know they were discrete? Simple - we can count them, individually. Look at the set and count them "One, two, three, four, five, six." The man clearly let out six distinct demons of the colon. He is feeling relief even as we speak.

So, this man was being discreet, and was also very discrete. That, my friends, is the difference between "discreet" and "discrete."

This nodeshell rescue is brought to you by the letter D.

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