sec·​re·​tary | \ ˈse-krə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce secretary (audio) , ˈse-kə-ˌter-, in rapid speech also ˈsek-ˌter-, especially British ˈse-k(r)ə-trē \
plural secretaries

Definition of secretary

1 : one employed to handle correspondence and manage routine and detail work for a superior
2a : an officer of a business concern who may keep records of directors' and stockholders' meetings and of stock ownership and transfer and help supervise the company's legal interests
b : an officer of an organization or society responsible for its records and correspondence
3 : an officer of state who superintends a government administrative department the secretary of labor
b : a writing desk with a top section for books

Illustration of secretary

Illustration of secretary

secretary 4b

Other Words from secretary

secretarial \ ˌse-​krə-​ˈter-​ē-​əl How to pronounce secretary (audio) \ adjective
secretaryship \ ˈse-​krə-​ˌter-​ē-​ˌship How to pronounce secretary (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for secretary


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Examples of secretary in a Sentence

You can set up an appointment with my secretary. He works as a legal secretary. He was the club's secretary. He is a junior secretary at the embassy.
Recent Examples on the Web The lawsuit also names Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the Florida Department of Transportation and Jared Perdue, the department’s secretary. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 23 Sep. 2022 These secretary of state races, PJ, are typically very sleepy affairs. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2022 Though Black voters still make up a significant share of voters, the number of active voters who are Hispanic and Asian grew in recent years to 4% and 3% respectively, according to a report from Georgia's secretary of state. Lalee Ibssa, ABC News, 23 Sep. 2022 The secretary of state oversees election management in Arizona, including testing the accuracy of the voting machines the 15 counties use to tabulate ballots. Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 22 Sep. 2022 Tammy Albarrán, who most recently was Uber Technologies Inc.’s chief deputy general counsel, will become Peloton’s new chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Peloton said in a statement earlier this month. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2022 The next secretary of state will replace Republican John Merrill, who was term-limited after serving two terms. Mike Cason |, al, 21 Sep. 2022 The Ohio secretary of state requires an independent verification that each voting machine doesn't have any hardware capable of going online, Linser said. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 21 Sep. 2022 On November 4, 2020, the day after Trump’s defeat, the Guardian reported on a plan from a group of QAnon adherents to help elect MAGA-friendly secretary-of-state candidates across the country. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of secretary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for secretary

Middle English secretarie, from Medieval Latin secretarius, confidential employee, secretary, from Latin secretum secret, from neuter of secretus

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Time Traveler for secretary

Time Traveler

The first known use of secretary was in the 15th century

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secretary at war

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Secretary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for secretary


sec·​re·​tary | \ ˈse-krə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce secretary (audio) \
plural secretaries

Kids Definition of secretary

1 : a person who is employed to take care of records, letters, and routine work for another person
2 : an officer of a business corporation or society who is in charge of the letters and records and who keeps minutes of meetings
3 : a government official in charge of a department the secretary of education
4 : a writing desk with a top section for books


noun, often capitalized
plural secretaries

Legal Definition of secretary

1 : an officer of a business concern who may keep records of directors' and stockholders' meetings and of stock ownership and transfer and help supervise the company's interests
2 : a government officer who superintends an administrative department

More from Merriam-Webster on secretary

Nglish: Translation of secretary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of secretary for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about secretary


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