secrete

1 of 2

verb (1)

se·​crete si-ˈkrēt How to pronounce secrete (audio)
secreted; secreting

transitive verb

: to form and give off (a secretion)

secrete

2 of 2

verb (2)

se·​crete si-ˈkrēt How to pronounce secrete (audio)
ˈsē-krət
secreted; secreting

transitive verb

1
: to deposit or conceal in a hiding place
2
: to appropriate secretly : abstract

Did you know?

If you guessed that the secret to the origins of secrete is the word secret, you are correct. Secrete developed in the mid-18th century as an alteration of a now obsolete verb secret. That verb had the meaning now carried by secrete and derived from the familiar noun secret ("something kept hidden or unexplained"). The noun, in turn, traces back to the Latin secretus, the past participle of the verb secernere, meaning "to separate" or "to distinguish." Incidentally, there is an earlier and distinct verb secrete with the more scientific meaning "to form and give off (a secretion)." That secrete is a back-formation from secretion, another word that can be traced back to secernere.

Choose the Right Synonym for secrete

hide, conceal, screen, secrete, bury mean to withhold or withdraw from sight.

hide may or may not suggest intent.

hide in the closet
a house hidden in the woods

conceal usually does imply intent and often specifically implies a refusal to divulge.

concealed the weapon

screen implies an interposing of something that prevents discovery.

a house screened by trees

secrete suggests a depositing in a place unknown to others.

secreted the amulet inside his shirt

bury implies covering up so as to hide completely.

buried the treasure

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

back-formation from secretion

Verb (2)

alteration of obsolete secret, from secret entry 1

First Known Use

Verb (1)

1693, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of secrete was in 1693

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Dictionary Entries Near secrete

Cite this Entry

“Secrete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secrete. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

secrete 1 of 2

verb

se·​crete si-ˈkrēt How to pronounce secrete (audio)
secreted; secreting
: to produce and give off a secretion
glands that secrete saliva

secrete

2 of 2

verb

se·​crete si-ˈkrēt How to pronounce secrete (audio)
ˈsē-krət
secreted; secreting
: to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Medical Definition

secrete

transitive verb

se·​crete si-ˈkrēt How to pronounce secrete (audio)
secreted; secreting
: to form and give off (a secretion)
cells secreting mucus

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