secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈse-kən-ˌder-ē \

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 \ adverb
secondariness \ ˈse-​kən-​ˌder-​ē-​nəs \ 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

For me sport has always come in first place beyond doubt, my private life was always secondary. Eric Willemsen, The Seattle Times, "A family man now, Hirscher still favorite for overall title," 26 Oct. 2018 The university is typically good in about a year, but the money is secondary. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: 2U CEO Chip Paucek on Recode Decode," 14 Oct. 2018 Chambers estimated that about one-half of a cubic meter of volume would be available inside Orion for secondary, commercial payloads, weighing tens to potentially hundreds of kilograms. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Orion spacecraft may carry more than NASA missions to the Moon," 4 Oct. 2018 Whether the events alleged really happened will be secondary. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Clarence Thomas Hearings Redux," 18 Sep. 2018 Its use as an ornate vestibule for those going to the House and Senate was secondary. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "History at the Capitol Rotunda, where McCain's casket will lie in state," 30 Aug. 2018 The Cougars are unproven at running back behind James Williams and Borghi, so Thomas could take on a Keith Harrington-like role in 2019 — or use his redshirt and slide in next to Borghi as a secondary tailback in 2020. 4. Theo Lawson, The Seattle Times, "NCAA early signing day: These five WSU recruits could make an instant impact for the Cougars," 17 Dec. 2018 Though mono is usually not serious, there are few complications that some people experience as secondary symptoms. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here Are All The Signs That You Might Have Mono AKA “The Kissing Disease”," 29 Nov. 2018 In fact, Borderless centers around a secondary character from the first book, Diana. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Borderless shows us the tech-fueled nightmare that we’ve all created," 8 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 On top of that, the Raiders basically got a new secondary, new No. 2 receiver and new specialists. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Predicting Every NFL Team’s 2018 Season Record," 7 June 2018 Nickerson’s veteran leadership will be solely missed as Tulane’s secondary undergoes a rebuild thanks to the exit of safety Jarrod Franklin as well. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tulane Green Wave are fighting to move up in AAC, ranked No. 114 in 2018 college football rankings," 5 May 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.

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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

7 Jan 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 \

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 \

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 sense 4, tertiary sense 2c

Other Words from secondary

secondarily \ ˌsek-​ən-​ˈder-​ə-​lē \ adverb

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secondary

adjective
sec·​ond·​ary | \ ˈse-kən-ˌder-ē \

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 \ adverb
secondariness \ ˈse-​kən-​ˌder-​ē-​nəs \ noun

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