secant

noun
se·​cant | \ˈsē-ˌkant, -kənt\

Definition of secant 

1 : a straight line cutting a curve at two or more points

2 : a straight line drawn from the center of a circle through one end of a circular arc to a tangent drawn from the other end of the arc

3a : a trigonometric function that for an acute angle is the ratio of the hypotenuse of a right triangle of which the angle is considered part and the leg adjacent to the angle

b : a trigonometric function sec θ that is the reciprocal of the cosine for all real numbers θ for which the cosine is not zero and that is exactly equal to the secant of an angle of measure θ in radians

First Known Use of secant

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for secant

New Latin secant-, secans, from Latin, present participle of secare to cut — more at saw

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about secant

Dictionary Entries near secant

secalin

secalose

Secamone

secant

sec art

secateur

Secchi disc

Statistics for secant

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secant

The first known use of secant was in 1593

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on secant

See words that rhyme with secant

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about secant

Comments on secant

What made you want to look up secant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!