discreet (də̇ˈskrēt) vs. discrete (dəˈskrēt)


This is a guest post by Aisha R. from California who participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2016 and 2017.

Hi everyone! My name is Aisha and I am a 12 year old 7th grader. When Tara announced that she was doing a homonym theme on her blog, I was quick to volunteer to write a guest post.

An interesting pair of homonyms that I found are discrete (detached or separate) and discreet (prudent, modest, or unobtrusive). Both words come from the Latin verb discernere which means to separate or to distinguish. Unfortunately, the shared etymology makes these words difficult to differentiate.

A good way to remember the definition for the word discrete is that the two e’s in the word are separated by the t. Here is a picture to help you remember this trick.

discrete memory trick

Thank you Aisha, for taking the time to share this pair of homophones with us and your trick to remembering how to spell discrete. It is  interesting to note that the word “discern” (to recognize or identify as separate or distinct) also comes from the Latin verb discernere.



cucurbitophobia (kyü-ˈkər-bətə-fō-bē-ə)

Happy Halloween! I had a fabulous time trick-or-treating in my spookily decorated neighborhood this evening. Almost every house that we visited had pumpkins decorating their porch. If I had cucurbitophobia, I would not have had a very good time tonight.

Cucurbitophobia is the fear of gourds. Pumpkins, squash, and watermelon are examples of gourds. The word curcubit comes from the Latin word cucurbita,  meaning gourd or cup. Cucurbitophobia comes from the word cucurbit, and phobia- meaning abnormal fear of.


agathokakological (a-gə-thō-ka-kə-lä-ji-kəl)

Darth Vader is agathokakological; he is both good and bad. Image from www.starwars.com

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I hope you all are having a great summer so far. This summer, I plan to watch all of the Star Wars movies again to prepare for the new movie, The Force Awakens, which premieres at  the end of the year. One of the most interesting characters in the series is the agathokakological Darth Vader because he not only looks cool, he is also a skilled pilot as well as an accomplished light saber duelist. Agathokakological is an adjective that means composed of both good and bad. The word comes from the Greek roots agatho meaning good and kako meaning bad.

Darth Vader starts out as Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight who protects the Republic and helps to prevent the Separatists from dominating the galaxy. But then, he is tempted by the Dark Side by Emperor Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious. Sidious corrupts Anakin and successfully turns him to the Dark Side. Anakin then becomes the feared Darth Vader and spreads terror throughout the Empire. However, at the end of the sixth movie, Darth Vader shows that there is still good in him when he saves his son, Luke, from being killed by the evil Darth Sidious. 

Are you a Star Wars fan? If so, who is your favorite character?