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

Everything was rendered secondary to Nadal vs. Kyrgios. Howard Fendrich, BostonGlobe.com, "After all the fireworks Rafael Nadal ousts Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon," 4 July 2019 The customer agreed, and decided to wait and see if the part surfaces on the secondary market down the road. Tik Root, Vox, "Apple effectively has a monopoly on fixing your iPhone. There’s now a fight to change that.," 3 July 2019 In a trench extraction, firefighters must be cautious not to cause a secondary collapse, an LAFD public information officer said. Jaclyn Cosgrove, latimes.com, "Trench collapse kills worker in Encino," 3 July 2019 With both Josh Richardson and Dwyane Wade no longer on the roster, the Heat will need additional secondary ballhandlers. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Is DeMarcus Cousins a viable play for the Heat?," 3 July 2019 To see nearby bikes and scooters, Uber users had to previously click a small button and be sent to a secondary screen. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Uber's app will now show alternatives to cars like e-bikes and scooters," 1 July 2019 Richardson is a comfortable option for running secondary offense after the ball moves from one side of the floor to the other. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Adding Al Horford Jump-Starts the Latest Sixers Reinvention," 1 July 2019 With most of last season's rotation players, save centers Kenneth Faried and Nene, in place but no outside additions yet, the Rockets' focus moved to their secondary free agency goal. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "With deal with Rivers in place, Rockets look for next step in free agent market," 1 July 2019 But this time there was a different secondary task: identifying if a visual pattern was rotating clockwise or counterclockwise, either immediately or after the next change of rotation. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Your eyes are the key to distracted driving, not your brain," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The rising junior is now the veteran of the defensive secondary at Santa Ana Mater Dei High. Shotgun Spratling, latimes.com, "Jaylin Davies is ready for leadership role in Mater Dei’s secondary," 7 June 2019 Ward is expected to join Sherman in the San Francisco secondary in 2018 back at free safety, with his former Davidson High School teammate Jaquiski Tartt at strong safety. Mark Inabinett, AL.com, "What did Jimmie Ward get in return for giving up number to new 49er Richard Sherman?," 18 Mar. 2018 That progress will likely lead to a bigger role for McCreary come fall, even in a veteran-laden secondary. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al.com, "Roger McCreary positioning himself to have ‘impact’ in Auburn secondary this fall," 7 June 2019 Coordinator Jim Schwartz relies on a deep and talented front to generate pressure, which will likely be vital against an Atlanta offense that can exploit Philly's vulnerable secondary given sufficient time. 2. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Falcons at Eagles NFC divisional playoff preview: Three things to know," 7 Jan. 2018 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

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

8 Jul 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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