Meaning of DISCRETION in English


di ‧ scre ‧ tion AC /dɪˈskreʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

1 . the ability and right to decide exactly what should be done in a particular situation

at sb’s discretion (=according to someone’s decision)

The awards are made at the discretion of the committee.

Promotions are left to the discretion of the supervisor.

discretion over/as to

People want to have more discretion over their working hours.

use/exercise your discretion

The judge exercised his discretion rightly to admit the evidence.

discretion to do something

The committee has the absolute discretion to refuse applications.

2 . the ability to deal with situations in a way that does not offend, upset, or embarrass people or tell any of their secrets ⇨ indiscretion :

British newspapers no longer feel they must treat the royal family with discretion.

3 . discretion is the better part of valour used to say that it is better to be careful than to take unnecessary risks

• • •


■ carefulness

▪ care if you do something with care, you are careful to avoid damage, mistakes etc:

She put the needle in with great care.


Everyone should take care in the sun.

▪ caution care to avoid danger or risks, or care about trusting information that might not be true:

Her evidence should be treated with caution.


There was a certain lack of caution among investors.

▪ prudence a sensible and careful attitude that makes you avoid unnecessary risks - a rather formal use:

Banks should show more prudence in lending money.

▪ vigilance careful attention to what is happening, so that you will notice any danger or illegal activity:

Governments from across the world have called for greater vigilance against Internet-based crime.


There is a need for constant vigilance to protect vulnerable people.

▪ regard for something careful attention and consideration shown to something, to avoid danger or risks - used especially when someone fails to do this:

The court heard that the company had shown no regard for the safety of its employees.


These men are cold-blooded killers and have little regard for human life.

▪ tact care not to say anything that might offend or upset someone:

He handled the matter with a great deal of tact.

▪ discretion care to deal with situations in a way that does not embarrass, upset or offend people, especially by not telling any of their secrets:

Any confidential information was treated with discretion.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.