What Does Sole Discretion Mean?


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Monica Stott Profile
Monica Stott answered
Sole discretion is an idiom in the English language which basically means keeping a secret. A person may describe themselves as 'the sole of discretion' and they will mean that they can be trusted with something, usually a piece of secret information and they will not tell anyone else.

An idiom is figurative language and does not literally follow the literal meaning of the words. In this case, the individual words have no connotation with keeping secrets but when put together, they have become well known to be a person who can be trusted. Sole means 'individual' and discretion for example usually refers to caution, tact and carefulness, so together they literally mean an individual person who is careful. This relates to a trustworthy person who will keep information to themselves which is how the idiom developed.

The meaning of an idiom cannot be understood by simply studying the individual words, they must be seen together and a familiarity with the language is essential to understand it. People learning a language will need to study idioms in order to understand conversations, particularly colloquial conversations where idioms tend to prevail.

Other idioms in the English language include 'pull your socks up'. This does not literally mean that a person should pull their socks up but means that they should work hard and remain alert. Someone who is lazy may be told to 'pull their socks up'. This idiom probably originated from the times when people, particularly young boys, will have worn shorts with socks pulled up their shins. When people have their socks pull up, they look smart, prepared and ready to work in comparison to people who have their socks slouched around their ankles who look untidy and unprepared to look their best or do their best.

'On the ball' is another English idiom which does not literally mean to be stood or sat on a ball. It again means that a person should be alert, aware of what is going on and able to predict what may happen next. A teacher who knows what every student in her class is doing and who will finish their work first and who will need some help is said to be 'on the ball'.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
When you read "at its sole discretion" in a contract, you can typically substitute the words "for any reason or no reason."

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