### DEFINITION of Discrete Distribution

A discrete distribution is a function that gives the probabilities of observable (either finite or countably infinite) pre-defined values. Unlike a continuous distribution, which probabilistically describes observable outcomes that can take any value in a continuous interval (uncountably infinite) range, a discrete distribution defines probabilities for distinct potential outcomes that do not cover any continuous interval range. Discrete distributions are frequently used in statistical modeling and computer programming.

Also known as a "discrete probability distribution."

### BREAKING DOWN Discrete Distribution

Examples of discrete probability distributions include binomial distribution (with a finite set of values) and Poisson distribution (with a countably infinite set of values). The concept of probability distributions and the random variables they describe are the underpinnings of probability theory and statistical analysis.

### Other Examples of Discrete Distribution

An example of a discrete distribution: rolling two dice and recording each of the probabilities of the sum being 2, 3, 4, etc., up to 12.

A business world example: a railroad company recording probabilities of various equipment or service failures on a particular route over a particular time interval. This discrete distribution could assist the company in allocating resources to address these issues.