Does indiscrete make sense in the following sentence? Is this word used as synonym of indissoluble?

The instincts and conduct of the young man who aspires to the eminence of a dukedom, from which he seems hopefully removed by the precedence of several relatives and an indiscrete marriage which his mother made, are elegant and impeccable.

The New York Times, Books (Alec Guinness Plays 8 Roles in 'Kind Hearts and Coronets," at Trans-Lux 60th Street).

Oxford Dictionaries, indiscrete: "not divided into distinct parts".

4 Answers 4


It seems to me this is more likely to be a misprint for indiscreet — lacking discretion; unwise.

IMDb has this for the plot of Kind Hearts and Coronets:

Louis Mazzini's mother belongs to the aristocratic family D'Ascoyne, but she ran away with an opera singer. Therefore, she and Louis were rejected by the D'Ascoynes. Once adult, Louis decides to avenges his mother and him, by becoming the next Duke of the family. Murdering every potential successor is clearly the safest way to achieve his goal...

...and I guess an opera singer was thought to be rather infra dig.


They've used the wrong word:

indiscreet: not discreet; imprudent or tactless

is the word they meant to use.

  • +1. Most likely. Both discrete and discreet have the same origin and pronounciation, BTW.
    – CesarGon
    Commented Jun 2, 2012 at 18:58
  • Also note DavidC's observation that he was probably hopelessly removed, not hopefully removed from the dukedom.
    – Adam
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 18:47

To say that a marriage was indiscreet was a polite way of saying that it lowered the social status of the one entering into it. How exactly this makes it harder for the young man to receive a heritary title is not clear to me.

Also, I think the author meant to say that the young man was "hopelessly removed" not "hopefully removed" from a dukedom.

  • This is wrong. A marriage which lowers social status might be indiscreet, not indiscrete (as other answers point out).
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 19:25
  • @AndrewLeach Thanks, I will correct the spelling error. It looks like I copied it from the original quote.
    – David42
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 17:38

While it is likely that you would use indiscreet to describe a marriage (and it is likely that this is the context in which it was meant in the above quote,) it is also entirely possible to describe a marriage as indiscrete, which would be the same as describing a marriage as indivisible.

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