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

Even in having to replace four safeties from last season, Auburn is confident about its depth at the back of the secondary. James Crepea, AL.com, "Expectations high for Auburn safeties after 'outstanding' spring," 2 May 2018 OFFSEASON OBJECTIVES Carroll consistently praised the progress of the young players in the secondary. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "2019 figures to mark the true transition for Seattle secondary from the Legion of Boom," 19 Feb. 2019 For poor and working-class families, especially those who are Black and Brown, public schools are often the only option for primary and secondary education. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Access to Education for Black Children Proves Difficult for Their Parents, Creating a Disadvantage," 13 Mar. 2019 The best ones would crumble without false identities, without duping primary and secondary characters, or without stoking the flames of misunderstanding. Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "Is All Rom-Com Love Based on a Lie?," 12 Feb. 2019 Five full size samples (including primary and secondary packaging) will be requested for product functionality review and packaging assessment. Good Housekeeping, "Frequently Asked Questions About Good Housekeeping's Sustainability Awards," 7 Nov. 2018 The dazzling 2005 is in transition between primary and secondary, showing the scent of lead pencil, often noted as a signature aroma of the wines of Bordeaux’s Pauillac region. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "A New Era Begins at Château Lafite as Baron de Rothschild Hands Leadership Over to His Daughter," 13 Aug. 2018 Duke-Carolina is always big, but Williamson was the reason tickets to Wednesday’s game in Durham were fetching more than $2,000 on the secondary market, and attracted a crowd that included former President Barack Obama. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Yikes, His Nikes! Zion Williamson’s Sneaker Disaster," 21 Feb. 2019 These aren’t particularly advanced scientific instruments, but the scientific discoveries Beresheet will make are secondary to the achievement of reaching the lunar surface at all. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Private Mission Hopes to Reach the Lunar Surface Without Help from Any Governments," 19 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

23 Apr 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

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!