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Alternative formsEdit


From Old French seculer, from Latin saecularis (of the age), from saeculum.


  • IPA(key): /sɛk.jə.lə(ɹ)/, /sɛk.jʊu.lɑː(ɹ)/ (Britain)
  • (file)


secular (comparative more secular, superlative most secular)

  1. Not specifically religious; lay or civil, as opposed to clerical.
  2. Temporal; worldly, or otherwise not based on something timeless.
  3. (Christianity) Not bound by the vows of a monastic order.
    secular clergy in Catholicism
  4. Happening once in an age or century.
    The secular games of ancient Rome were held to mark the end of a saeculum and the beginning of the next.
  5. Continuing over a long period of time, long-term.
    The long-term growth in population and income accounts for most secular trends in economic phenomena.
    on a secular basis
  6. (literary) Centuries-old, ancient.
    • 1899, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, section 3
      The long reaches that were like one and the same reach, monotonous bends that were exactly alike, slipped past the steamer with their multitude of secular trees looking patiently after this grimy fragment of another world, the forerunner of change, of conquest, of trade, of massacres, of blessings.
  7. (astrophysics, geology) Relating to long-term non-periodic irregularities, especially in planetary motion or magnetic field.
    • 2003, E. T. Jaynes, Probability Theory: The Logic of Science, Cambridge University Press, pages 234–235:
      Laplace (1749–1827) "saved the world" by using probability theory to estimate the parameters accurately enough to show that the drift of Jupiter was not secular after all; the observations at hand had covered only a fraction of a cycle of an oscillation with a period of about 880 years.
  8. (atomic physics) Unperturbed over time.
    • 2000, S. A. Dikanov, Two-dimensional ESEEM Spectroscopy, in New Advances in Analytical Chemistry (Atta-ur-Rahman, ed.), page 539
      The secular A and nonsecular B parts of hyperfine interaction for any particular frequencies να and νβ are derived from eqn.(21) by ...



Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


secular (plural seculars)

  1. A secular ecclesiastic, or one not bound by monastic rules.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burke to this entry?)
  2. A church official whose functions are confined to the vocal department of the choir.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Busby to this entry?)
  3. A layman, as distinguished from a clergyman.






secular (plural seculares, comparable)

  1. secular



secular (plural seculares)

  1. secular