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Definition of Discretion

Babylon English

caution, wisdom, careful judgment
according to his judgment, by his choosing
Discretion Definition from Arts & Humanities Dictionaries & Glossaries
English-Latin Online Dictionary
Discretion Definition from Language, Idioms & Slang Dictionaries & Glossaries
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
The quality of being discreet; wise conduct and management; cautious discernment, especially as to matters of propriety and self-control; prudence; circumspection; wariness.
Freedom to act according to one's own judgment; unrestrained exercise of choice or will.
Disjunction; separation.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), edited by Noah Porter. About
hEnglish - advanced version

\dis*cre"tion\ (?), n. [f. discrétion, l. discretio separation, difference, discernment, fr. discernere, discretum. see discreet, discern.]
1. disjunction; separation. [obs.]
2. the quality of being discreet; wise conduct and management; cautious discernment, especially as to matters of propriety and self-control; prudence; circumspection; wariness. the better part of valor is discretion. the greatest parts without discretion may be fatal to their owner. ume.
3. discrimination. well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.
4. freedom to act according to one's own judgment; unrestrained exercise of choice or will.

  similar words(1) 

 at discretion 
The Phrase Finder
Shakespeare, in Henry IV, Part One. Falstaff: 'The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.'
© 2004 The Phrase Finder. Take a look at Phrase Finder’s sister site, the Phrases Thesaurus, a subscription service for professional writers & language lovers.
JM Welsh <=> English Dictionary
Dyspwyll = n. discretion
Pwyll = n. impulse; reason, sense, discretion. Gan bwyll, gently
WordNet 2.0

1. freedom to act or judge on one's own
(hypernym) liberty
2. knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress; "the servants showed great tact and discretion"
(synonym) discreetness, circumspection, prudence
(hypernym) sagacity, sagaciousness, judgment, judgement, discernment
(hyponym) confidentiality
3. refined taste; tact
(synonym) delicacy
(hypernym) taste, appreciation, discernment, perceptiveness
4. the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies
(synonym) free will
(hypernym) power, powerfulness
(hyponym) self-determination
5. the trait of judging wisely and objectively; "a man of discernment"
(synonym) discernment
(hypernym) wisdom, wiseness
(hyponym) circumspection, caution
Discretion Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
English Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
Discretion has the meaning of acting on one's own authority and judgement. In law, discretion as to legal rulings, such as whether evidence is excluded at a trial, may be exercised by a judge. Some view discretion negatively, while some view it positively. Discretion is at all levels of law enforcement.

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Discretion Definition from Law Dictionaries & Glossaries
The 'Lectric Law Library
When it is said that something is left to the discretion of a judge, it signifies that he ought to decide according to the rules of equity, and the nature of circumstances.

The discretion of a judge is said to be the law of tyrants; it is always unknown; it is different in different men; it is casual and depends upon constitution, temper, and passion. In the best, it is oftentimes caprice; in the worst, it is every vice, folly and passion, to which human nature is liable.

There is a species of discretion which is authorized by express law, and, without which, justice cannot be administered; for example, an old offender, a man of much intelligence and cunning, whose talents render him dangerous to the community, induces a young man of weak intellect to commit a larceny in company with himself; they are both liable to be punished for the offence. The law, foreseeing such a case, has provided that the punishment should be proportioned so as to do justice, and it has left such apportionment to the discretion of the judge. It is evident that, without such discretion, justice could not be administered, for one of these parties assuredly deserves a much more severe punishment than the other.

Crim. Law. The ability to know and distinguish between good and evil; between what is lawful and what is unlawful.

The age at which children are said to have discretion, is not very accurately ascertained. Under seven years, it seems that no circumstances of mischievous discretion can be admitted to overthrow the strong presumption of innocence, which is raised by an age so tender. Between the ages of seven and fourteen, the infant is, prima facie, destitute of criminal design, but this presumption diminishes as the age increases, and even during this interval of youth may be repelled by positive evidence of vicious intention; for tenderness of years will not excuse a maturity in crime, the maxim in these cases being, malitia supplet aetatem. At fourteen, children are said to have acquired legal discretion.

This entry contains material from Bouvier's Legal Dictionary, a work published in the 1850's.
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library.