A Dictionary of the English Language
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Discretion

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 606

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 606

Discrétion. n.s. [from discretio, Latin.]

  1. Prudence; knowledge to govern or direct one's self; skill; wise management.

    Nothing then was further thought upon for the manner of governing; but all permitted unto their wisdom and discretion which were to rule. Hooker, b. i. s. 10.

    A knife may be taken away from a child, without depriving them of the benefits thereof, which have years and discretion to use it. Hooker, b. iv. s 12.

    It is not good that children should know any wickedness: old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world. Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.

    All this was order'd by the good discretion
    Of the right reverend cardinal of York.
    Shakesp. Hen. VIII.

    The pleasure of commanding our passions is to be preferred before any sensual pleasure; because it is the pleasure of wisdom and discretion. Tillotson.

    But care in poetry must still be had,
    It asks discretion, ev'n in running mad.
    Pope's Eff. On Crit.

    There is no talent so useful towards rising in the world, or which puts men more out of the reach of fortune than discretion, a species of lower prudence. Swift.

  2. Liberty of acting at pleasure; uncontrolled, and unconditional power; as, he surrenders at discretion; that is, without stipulation.

Sources: Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Tillotson, John (68)

Attributes: Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Discretion." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 13, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=16604.


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