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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Johnson, the leader of Miami’s secondary, believes Carter has the ability to continue growing into a special playmaker. Christy Cabrera Chirinos, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hard-hitting Amari Carter ready for bigger role on Hurricanes defense," 13 June 2018 Daily played for the Wildcats as a member of the team's secondary in 2012 and 2013, recording 49 career tackles. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Former Kansas State football player, now cop, catches thief," 3 May 2018 The San Diego funds will replace 14 miles of secondary fencing, steel mesh topped in some places with razor wire that runs, with some gaps, from Border Field State Park to Trump’s border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego receives additional $251M in border fence funding," 1 Apr. 2018 Second-year cornerback Shaquill Griffin is expected to start on the right side, however, who will start in the remaining positions of the secondary is anyone's guess at this point. Geoffrey C. Arnold, OregonLive.com, "Seattle Seahawks meet with former Oregon prep star Kenneth Acker: Report," 29 Mar. 2018 Stephon Gilmore looks comfortable coming back for a second year in Foxboro, so the secondary could be better. Albert Breer, SI.com, "AFC East Offseason Report Cards: Jets Getting it Right, Bills Go Full Rebuild, Dolphins Look for Leadership, Patriots Have New Question Marks," 8 June 2018 The Saints secondary had been a chief downfall of the teams that went 7-9 each year from 2014-16, but Williams and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, a fellow rookie, helped the unit improve significantly last season. Josh Katzenstein, NOLA.com, "Saints' Marcus Williams using missed tackle as extra motivation this offseason," 18 Apr. 2018 The secondary has been under microscope so far, with three key players sidelined by injury. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Coaches say effort, desire to improve are there for the Oregon State Beavers' defense," 11 Apr. 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee 49ers mock drafts: Help in the secondary is the team's focus, most analysts say CBS Sports Updated April 3 CBS Sports has six analysts offering mocks and analysis. Noel Harris, sacbee, "Raiders mock drafts: Two defensive players emerge as favorites to be selected | The Sacramento Bee," 5 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This provides a good test for Baltimore’s revamped receiving group against a Titans secondary led by former Patriot Malcolm Butler and 2017 All-Pro Kevin Byard. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Predicting Every NFL Team’s 2018 Season Record," 7 June 2018 Harrison is the instinctive, reliable tackler Vaccaro rarely was and could be another nice addition to a blossoming secondary. 28. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL mock draft 2018: First round's post-combine fallout," 7 Mar. 2018 The Carolina staff knew how to get the most out of Ginn’s still dazzling speed and ability to humble secondaries with big plays. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Saints' Ted Ginn won't provide bulletin board material for wild-card game vs. Panthers," 4 Jan. 2018 The Cougars have a few cornerbacks in this class, but Langford, at 6-3, would give them some height and size — not to mention junior college experience — in the defensive secondary. Theo Lawson, The Seattle Times, "NCAA early signing day: These five WSU recruits could make an instant impact for the Cougars," 17 Dec. 2018 Washington has unrivaled experience in the backfield and an elite secondary. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "Ten bold predictions for the UW Huskies 2018 season," 28 Aug. 2018 The system can then measure the atmospheric interference and use actuators to warp a thin, flexible secondary mirror up to one thousand times per second to correct for the blurred light. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "New Technology Allows Ground Telescope to Take Sharper Images Than Hubble," 18 July 2018 Providing quality education, from early childhood to K-12 to post-secondary, is the single biggest challenge for our state. charlotteobserver, "Ashley Christensen," 3 July 2018 Should save that money to field an actual secondary... Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "How did fans, teammates and media react to Zack Martin's extension with the Cowboys?," 13 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about secondary

Statistics for secondary

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secondary

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on secondary

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

WORD OF THE DAY

something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!