secant

noun

se·​cant ˈsē-ˌkant How to pronounce secant (audio)
-kənt
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
3
a
: 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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of secant was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near secant

Cite this Entry

“Secant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secant. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

secant

noun
se·​cant ˈsē-ˌkant How to pronounce secant (audio)
-kənt
1
: a straight line that intersects a curve at two or more points
2
: a trigonometric function that is the ratio between the hypotenuse in a right triangle and the side next to an acute angle

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