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

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Cite this Entry

“Secant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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