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

Examples of secrete in a Sentence

Verb (2) the police found the weapon secreted under the driver's seat of the getaway car
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The embryos were nourished by a milk-like substance secreted in the oviduct. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2024 The first is to secrete an additional layer of dentin to delay the approaching attack. Samer Zaky, Discover Magazine, 10 May 2024 As a defense mechanism, ladybugs secrete a substance that can cause painful mouth and stomach ulcers, Watkins says. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 9 May 2024 Joints are wrapped in a capsule of connective tissue that secretes synovial fluid as a lubricant when the joints are moved. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 9 May 2024 Fat cells secrete adiponectin, a protein hormone which improves insulin sensitivity and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes. Elizabeth Woolley, Verywell Health, 9 Apr. 2024 Stay in one of the park’s cozy cabins, secreted among the tall pines, or nab one of the 59 campsites that put some of Florida’s most pristine white-sand beaches at your doorstep. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 7 Apr. 2024 Before being born, white sharks are sustained by a special substance, called intrauterine milk, that is secreted in their mothers’ uteruses. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 30 Jan. 2024 The mayor of Birmingham, a young Black man named Randall Woodfin, secreted away a Confederate obelisk from Linn Park to an undisclosed location, and gladly accepted the fine—twenty-five thousand dollars—when the state sued Birmingham. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'secrete.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 29 May. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on secrete

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