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

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Other Words from secretion

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for secretion


caching, concealment, hiding, stashing


display, exhibition, exposure, parading, showing

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Examples of secretion in a Sentence

the secretion of stomach acids root secretions that repel insects

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Published this February in JAMA, the study found no differences between the two diets and no meaningful relationship between weight loss and insulin secretion. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade," 18 June 2018 During the symptomatic/infectious phase, symptoms like coughing and sneezing serve as a warning sign to avoid direct contact with a sick person, and especially to avoid exposure to respiratory secretions. Richard Klasco, M.d., New York Times, "Am I Contagious?," 2 Mar. 2018 Brainard: My research in the 1980s showed that the effect of light on melatonin secretion has clinical benefits. Jessica Schmerler, Scientific American, "Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?," 1 Sep. 2015 In the decapitation scene, the red comes from a resinous insect secretion. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Souvenirs of a Prince’s Passage to India," 18 May 2018 Nurses were apparently not allowed to clean out the eye socket on visits, which meant various body secretions were left to build up in Hunt's face and flooded into his lungs. Fox News, "Cancer ate half his face: Eye cancer misdiagnosed as migraine left giant hole in man's face," 7 May 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for secretion

The first known use of secretion was in 1646

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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

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full of whispering sounds

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