secant

noun
se·​cant | \ ˈsē-ˌkant How to pronounce secant (audio) , -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

Learn More About secant

Dictionary Entries Near secant

Secamone

secant

sec art

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for secant

Cite this Entry

“Secant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secant. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on secant

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about secant

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!