An elementary electronic device constructed as a single unit. Before the advent of integrated circuits (chips), all transistors, resistors, capacitors and diodes were discrete. Discrete components are widely used in amplifiers and other electronic products that use large amounts of current. On a circuit board, they are intermingled with the chips, and there is hardly any electronic product that does not have at least one or two discrete resistors or capacitors. See also discrete manufacturing.
(electronics) A component with just one circuit element, either passive (resistor, capacitor, induct) or active (transistor or vacuum tube).