Discreet/discrete

I don’t think this spelling in the Independent is quite right, is it?

Dr Nick Plowman, a consultant oncologist at St Bartholomew’s hospital, who will oversee the treatment, said: “If you get a discreet little tumour in an awkward place, under the liver or next to the kidney, then there’s really nothing better than the Cyberknife.”

9 thoughts on “Discreet/discrete

    • Maybe you’re right. I see it’s quoted widely and always spelt that way. But to me it sounds too joky, like ‘a discreet little tattoo’, something you acquire deliberately and choose the size of.

    • Mind you, anon points out the difference in ghits: “discrete tumour” 3610, “discreet tumor” 101. And a [url=http://iptq.com/cc8.htm]quote[/url]:

      ‘There are two types: the discrete tumor, a mass which may or may not be polypoid and in general is exophytic; and the diffuse tumor which affects the whole cavity with a pale fragile covering of tumoral tissue that exudes mucous and blood.’

    • The point is that if a tumour is not discrete, you don’t want to go cutting it out, even with a cyberknife, because cutting into it could do more harm than good.

  1. It does look like a news agency typo that has spread to every single newspaper picking up on the story. Just try Googling Dr. Nick Plowman and discreet tomour. You’d think at least one news subeditor could have checked the spelling.

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