se·​cre·​tion | \ si-ˈkrē-shən \

Definition of secretion

1a : the process of segregating, elaborating, and releasing some material either functionally specialized (such as saliva) or isolated for excretion (such as urine)
b : a product of secretion formed by an animal or plant especially : one performing a specific useful function in the organism
2 [ 2secrete ] : the act of hiding something : concealment

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from secretion

secretionary \ si-​ˈkrē-​shə-​ˌner-​ē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for secretion


caching, concealment, hiding, stashing


display, exhibition, exposure, parading, showing

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of secretion in a Sentence

the secretion of stomach acids root secretions that repel insects

Recent Examples on the Web

Hand, foot, and mouth is passed on through contact with an infected person’s nasal secretions, throat discharge, or saliva. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Baseball Star Is Out Sick With Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease," 26 July 2018 But as a quick lesson, nasolingus concerns licking or sucking on someone's nose and sometimes consuming the nose's secretions. Kenny Thapoung, Marie Claire, "9 Fascinating Sex Fetishes Every Woman Should Be Aware Of," 6 Oct. 2015 What’s the harm in believing that there are beaver butt gland secretions in my vanilla ice cream? Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Flatworms fence with their penises and other gross science facts," 21 Oct. 2018 The plant is the only host for their eggs and sole sustenance for the caterpillars, which feed on milky secretions from the leaves. Calvin Woodward, Fox News, "A makeover for milkweed, for the sake of butterflies," 31 July 2018 Too much exposure to blue light at night suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Gina Tomaine, Good Housekeeping, "I Wore Blue Light Blocking Glasses Every Day for a Week — Here’s What I Learned," 11 July 2018 Treatment will likely include drugs to dry out the patients’ secretions and seizure medication. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Novichok nerve agent strikes two new victims in the UK," 4 July 2018 Choanoflagellates have genes for tyrosine kinases, enzymes that, in complex animals, help control the functions of specialized cells, such as insulin secretion in the pancreas. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "The momentous transition to multicellular life may not have been so hard after all," 28 June 2018 For the past couple years, people from here (as in, in the U.S.) to South Korea have been all about smearing snail secretions on their faces. Devon Abelman, Allure, "People Are Using Snail Slime to Heal Their Tattoos — But Is This Controversial Aftercare Safe?," 6 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'secretion.' 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 secretion

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for secretion

French sécrétion, from Latin secretion-, secretio separation, from secernere to separate — more at secret

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about secretion

Statistics for secretion

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secretion

The first known use of secretion was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for secretion



English Language Learners Definition of secretion

: the production of a liquid by part of a plant or animal
: a substance produced and given off by a plant or animal part


se·​cre·​tion | \ si-ˈkrē-shən \

Kids Definition of secretion

1 : the act or process of giving off a substance the secretion of saliva by salivary glands
2 : a substance formed in and given off by a gland that usually performs a useful function in the body Digestive secretions contain enzymes.


se·​cre·​tion | \ si-ˈkrē-shən \

Medical Definition of secretion

1 : the process of segregating, elaborating, and releasing some material either functionally specialized (as saliva) or isolated for excretion (as urine)
2 : a product of secretion formed by an animal or plant especially : one performing a specific useful function in the organism

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on secretion

What made you want to look up secretion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!