Who Are We?

We are just a bunch of anonymous technology super nerds who fundamentally believe in free speech and an individual's right to privacy all while having a healthy distrust of big business and the government. In the early years of our nerd careers we used to manage large multi-million user email platforms and saw firsthand what big business and various governments did with user data. After enough of us found one another, realized we were of like mind and together possessed the resources and skills needed to build this amazing ecosystem we founded Discreet.Email and the rest is history.

Discreet vs. Discrete

This is another pair of words that sound alike but are different in meaning and spelling. Discreet means that someone is being reserved (showing privacy) in their behavior or speech. Discrete means something quite different: "distinct, separate, unrelated."

Both words derive from the same Latin word discretus meaning "separated." Until the 1700s, these words were each spelled many different ways including discrete, discreet, dyscrete, discreete, etc. Eventually discrete and discreet came to be differentiated in spelling as well as in meaning.

Discreet yielded the noun discretion, but discrete's noun form is discreteness. For most of English history, discreet was more frequently used, but today discrete is much more frequently used than discreet; it has seen a dramatic rise since the 1940s according to Google nGram.

Here are a few useful examples that show the differences between these two words:

  • "When Netflix hiked its price by a few bucks a month and tried to separate DVD rentals and online streaming into two discrete services, everyone was pretty annoyed."
  • "Texting is more discreet than talking because what you text can't be overheard by others, it's private."