Indiscreet and Indiscrete

Commonly Confused Words

The homophones indiscreet and indiscrete are not synonyms. Indiscreet is the more common word. Indiscrete is a technical term primarily used in scientific writing.

The adjective indiscreet means imprudent, lacking good judgment, or carelessly talkative. The noun forms of indiscreet are indiscreetness and indiscretion.

The adjective indiscrete means not separated into distinct parts. The noun form of indiscrete is indiscreteness.

See also: Discreet and Discrete


  • The lawyer's indiscreet remarks to the media provoked an angry response from the judge.
  • Dr. John Watson: One word, Sherlock! That is all I would have needed! One word to let me know that you were alive!

    Sherlock Holmes: I've nearly been in contact so many times, but I worried that, you know, you might say something indiscreet.

    Dr. John Watson: What?

    Sherlock Holmes: Oh, you know, let the cat out of the bag.
    (Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Empty Hearse." Sherlock, 2014)
  • The indiscrete nucleus does not have a nuclear membrane and is therefore not separate from the cytoplasm.


(a) "Questions are never _____; answers sometimes are."
(Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband)

(b) Topology aims to formalize some continuous, _____ features of space.


Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

Answers to Practice Exercises: Indiscreet and Indiscrete

(a) "Questions are never indiscreet; answers sometimes are."
(Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

(b) Topology aims to formalize some continuous, indiscrete features of space.

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words