secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈse-kən-ˌder-ē How to pronounce secondary (audio) \

Definition of secondary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of second rank, importance, or value
b : of, relating to, or constituting the second strongest of the three or four degrees of stress recognized by most linguists the fourth syllable of basketball team carries secondary stress
c of a tense : expressive of past time
2a : immediately derived from something original, primary, or basic
b : of, relating to, or being the induced current or its circuit in an induction coil or transformer secondary voltage
c : characterized by or resulting from the substitution of two atoms or groups in a molecule a secondary salt especially : being, characterized by, or attached to a carbon atom having bonds to two other carbon atoms
d(1) : not first in order of occurrence or development
(2) : dependent or consequent on another disease or condition secondary hypertension
(3) : produced by activity of formative tissue and especially cambium other than that at a growing point secondary growth secondary phloem
3a : of, relating to, or being the second order or stage in a series
b : of, relating to, or being the second segment of the wing of a bird or the quills of this segment
c : of or relating to a secondary school secondary education

secondary

noun
plural secondaries

Definition of secondary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one occupying a subordinate or auxiliary position rather than that of a principal
2 : a defensive football backfield
3 : the coil through which the secondary current passes in an induction coil or transformer

called also secondary coil

4 : any of the quill feathers of the forearm of a bird — see wing illustration

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Other Words from secondary

Adjective

secondarily \ ˌse-​kən-​ˈder-​ə-​lē How to pronounce secondarily (audio) \ adverb
secondariness \ ˈse-​kən-​ˌder-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce secondariness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for secondary

Synonyms: Adjective

derivative, secondhand

Antonyms: Adjective

basic, original

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Examples of secondary in a Sentence

Adjective

Winning is secondary—we play for the fun of the sport. There are some secondary issues which must be taken into account as well. I want a car that's reliable; the color is of secondary importance. The secondary roads are indicated on the map with a green line. Better gas mileage is a secondary benefit of reduced speed limits.

Noun

The team has a strong secondary.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The hope is that consistent quarterback pressure will make life easier for a secondary that was absolutely toasted on both coasts and everywhere in between last season. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: For Shanahan’s 49ers, the time for wins is now," 27 Aug. 2019 Senior safety Jordan Fuller, who was tied for the team lead in tackles with Harrison, leads a secondary that is tested. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 5 Ohio State moves on from Urban Meyer era," 20 Aug. 2019 Combine that front-line muscle with a secondary that returns every starter, and this Auburn defense, coached by coordinator Kevin Steele, should be able to give Auburn’s freshman quarterbacks time to learn on the job. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Auburn is the most unpredictable team in the country," 19 Aug. 2019 Donawerth is a dangerous kick returner and part of a deep secondary that returns all four starters. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "East Central, Lawrenceburg resume football rivalry in Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown," 13 Aug. 2019 Weddle joined a secondary that includes safety John Johnson and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Gary Kleinstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Wade Phillips likes how new pieces fit in his Rams defense," 2 Aug. 2019 The school has vowed to help students with disabilities realize their dreams of becoming Aggies with a four-year post-secondary education program specifically designed to support them, the public university announced in a statement. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Texas A&M Launches State's First Inclusive 4-Year College Program for Students with Disabilities," 22 July 2019 The San Diego Foundation is giving out about $2.8 million in scholarships to 934 students who will attend post-secondary education this school year. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Foundation awards $2.8 million in college scholarships," 19 July 2019 Higher tuition charges do push some people away from post-secondary education. The Economist, "Should university be free?," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With a new coach, a new quarterback and a bolstered defensive secondary, can this team return to the playoffs for the first time in four years? Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "How the Broncos will fare in 2019, according to the national media," 6 Sep. 2019 But even a week of preparation may not be enough for a freshman facing off with Stanford’s secondary, which came out strong a week ago. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC-Stanford: A look at how the teams match up," 6 Sep. 2019 The Broncos offense is by no means intimidating, but the Raiders’ defense might be the worst in the NFL this year with a questionable secondary, a sitting-duck linebacker core, and no pass rush, at all. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Dieter’s NFL betting guide: In-depth analysis and picks of every Week 1 game," 6 Sep. 2019 Now, with the benefit of a full offseason, the South Florida product is set for a bigger role in this Crimson Tide secondary. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "What former 5-star Patrick Surtain II learned as rookie starter at Alabama," 20 Aug. 2019 The Pirates graduated much of their line and a prolific secondary, but Schiano threw for 2,525 yards and has an arsenal of playmakers at his disposal. Matt Goul, cleveland.com, "Perry brings offensive fireworks: 2019 football camp tour," 20 Aug. 2019 In that situation with two outs, Geno was getting an unbelievable secondary (lead). Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Trevor Bauer strikes out 11; Cincinnati Reds' mistakes add up in loss to San Diego Padres," 19 Aug. 2019 That was most evident in the Aggies’ secondary, which struggled adapting to new defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s demands — primarily the orders to be as cerebral as spry when roaming the field behind the front seven. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "‘The big adjustment’: A&M’s secondary pledges an upgrade in Elko’s 2ndseason," 18 Aug. 2019 The entire secondary is up from the junior varsity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Palomar League prep football preview," 17 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'secondary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of secondary

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for secondary

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secondary

The first known use of secondary was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for secondary

secondary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of secondary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not as important or valuable as something else
: of or relating to education of students who have completed primary school
: caused by or coming from something else

secondary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of secondary (Entry 2 of 2)

American football : the players on the defense who are positioned away from the line of scrimmage and who mainly try to stop forward passes by the offense

secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈse-kən-ˌder-ē How to pronounce secondary (audio) \

Kids Definition of secondary

1 : second in rank, value, or importance We need to find water. Food is secondary.
2 : derived from or coming after something original or primary a secondary effect
3 : relating to secondary school a secondary education
4 : relating to or being the second of three levels of stress in pronunciation

secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈsek-ən-ˌder-ē How to pronounce secondary (audio) \

Medical Definition of secondary

1 : not first in order of occurrence or development: as
a : dependent or consequent on another disease secondary diabetes Bright's disease is often secondary to scarlet fever
b : occurring or being in the second stage secondary symptoms of syphilis
c : occurring some time after the original injury a secondary hemorrhage
2 : characterized by or resulting from the substitution of two atoms or groups in a molecule a secondary salt especially : being, characterized by, or attached to a carbon atom having bonds to two other carbon atoms
3 : relating to or being the three-dimensional coiling of the polypeptide chain of a protein especially in the form of an alpha-helix — compare primary entry 1 sense 4, tertiary entry 2 sense 2c

Other Words from secondary

secondarily \ ˌsek-​ən-​ˈder-​ə-​lē How to pronounce secondarily (audio) \ adverb

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secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈse-kən-ˌder-ē How to pronounce secondary (audio) \

Legal Definition of secondary

1 : of second rank, status, importance, or value
2 : derived from something original or primary
3 : of, relating to, or being the second order or stage in a series

Other Words from secondary

secondarily \ ˌse-​kən-​ˈder-​ə-​lē How to pronounce secondarily (audio) \ adverb
secondariness \ ˈse-​kən-​ˌder-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce secondariness (audio) \ noun

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Comments on secondary

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