Following up on yesterday’s post, here are a couple of of my favorite homophones: discreet and discrete. What makes these particularly fun is that they’re also doublets (a fancy linguistic term for different words in the same language that are derived from the same source).
See, while both discreet and discrete have the same etymological parent—discretus, which is Latin for “separated”—they have very different meetings. Discreet generally means prudent, circumspect, or inconspicuous (“on the DL,” as the kids say); discrete refers to that which is distinct. Yet despite these differences, the root is still fairly obvious.
Wait. This isn’t as cool as I think it is?