secular

adjective
sec·​u·​lar | \ ˈse-kyə-lər How to pronounce secular (audio) \

Definition of secular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal secular concerns
b : not overtly or specifically religious secular music
c : not ecclesiastical or clerical secular courts secular landowners
2 : not bound by monastic vows or rules specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation a secular priest
3a : occurring once in an age or a century
b : existing or continuing through ages or centuries
c : of or relating to a long term of indefinite duration secular inflation

secular

noun
sec·​u·​lar | \ ˈse-kyə-lər How to pronounce secular (audio) \
plural seculars or secular

Definition of secular (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an ecclesiastic (such as a diocesan priest) not bound by monastic vows or rules : a member of the secular clergy
2 : layman

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Other Words from secular

Adjective

secularity \ ˌse-​kyə-​ˈler-​ə-​tē How to pronounce secularity (audio) , -​ˈla-​rə-​ \ noun
secularly \ ˈse-​kyə-​lər-​lē How to pronounce secularly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for secular

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Frequently Asked Questions About secular

Are secular and atheist synonyms?

Although they may often come up in similar contexts, secular and atheist are not synonyms. Secular is most often used as an adjective (although is is also a noun), while atheist is mostly found as a noun (atheistic and atheistical are the common adjective forms). Additionally, atheist means "a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods," whereas secular has a number of meanings, including "not overtly or specifically religious," "not bound by monastic vows or rules," and "occurring once in an age or a century."

Is secular always related to religion?

"In contemporary English, secular is primarily used to distinguish something (such as an attitude, belief, or position) that is not specifically religious or sectarian in nature (for example, music with no religious connection or affiliation might be described as ""secular""). However, certain meanings of secular do have some basis in religion, such as ""not bound by monastic vows or rules,"" and ""of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation."" "

Can secular be a noun?

Secular does have some meanings as a noun, including "an ecclesiastic (such as a diocesan priest) not bound by monastic vows or rules; a member of the secular clergy." However, the word meaning "indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations" is secularism rather than secular.

Examples of secular in a Sentence

Adjective Bloomberg, by contrast, would be the most pro-immigration, pro-free trade, pro-Wall Street candidate in the race. The third-party candidate he would most resemble is John Anderson, the fiscally responsible, culturally liberal Republican who ran as an Independent in 1980. Anderson won 7% of the vote, mostly among the young, educated and secular. But today those people are partisan Democrats. — Peter Beinart, Time, 11 Feb. 2008 In the early twentieth century, priests and religious built centers for Catholic study and worship on secular campuses. — Maurice Timothy Reidy, Commonweal, 7 Apr. 2006 Some women, indeed, achieved great renown for their religious scholarship, becoming role models for their peers and silently challenging men, who for so long had held a monopoly in this area. Though they never carried the title of "rabbi" and in many cases eschewed the controversial "f-word" (feminism) altogether, these Orthodox women produced no less a revolution in the late twentieth century than women did in so many other realms, religious and secular alike. By challenging Judaism, they ended up strengthening Judaism. — Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism, 2004 The reforms of the nineteenth century and the needs of commercial and other contacts with Europe led to the enactment of new laws, modeled on those of Europe—commercial, civil, criminal, and finally constitutional. In the traditional order the only lawyers were the ulema, the doctors of the Holy Law, at once jurists and theologians. The secular lawyer, pleading in courts administering secular law, represented a new and influential element in society. — Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?, 2002 Both secular and religious institutions can apply for the funds. that's an issue for the secular authorities, not the church
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Much of the industry — department stores particularly — have been in a secular decline since peaking in the 1990s. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy, a crushing one as it was making progress to fix itself," 15 May 2020 The Department has already entered a few cases around the country where there have been these sweeping prohibitions against religion where there were comparable secular activities are not controlled the same way. Catherine Herridge, CBS News, "Attorney General William Barr on Michael Flynn, Obamacare and coronavirus restrictions – Transcript," 12 May 2020 School vouchers now steer billions of tax dollars every year from public schools to private and religious schools, and religious charities now receive government grants that once went only to secular social service groups. Dan Horn, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati religious groups want taxpayer bailout: Even clergy salaries could be covered," 1 May 2020 History of persecution The historical persecution of Jews around the world is central to both secular and strictly observant Jews. Joyce Dalsheim, The Conversation, "Jewish history explains why some ultra-Orthodox communities defy coronavirus restrictions," 27 Apr. 2020 Boris Johnson, fresh out of intensive care, is preaching his country’s secular faith, love for the National Health Service, and seeing his ratings soar. The Economist, "Lexington The paradox of the pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 All of that is on display in America’s most secular region, New England. G. Jeffrey Macdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, "Pastor-sharing: For clergy, a holy hustle and labor of love," 14 Apr. 2020 The secular trends support continued growth in technology. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "Investing in tech stocks: Winners of the 2010s expected to repeat their performance in 2020s," 30 Dec. 2019 This early ramp-up comes in spite of secular economic trends pushing overall retail hiring down, however. NBC News, "Amid historically low unemployment rate, companies are fighting for holiday help," 23 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The anti-Erdogan camp used to be composed of disparate groups, including Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, seculars and even some Islamists. Soner Cagaptay, Time, "Four Things to Watch in Turkey's Elections," 21 June 2018 In the secular, bottom-line world Byrne inhabits, patience is in short supply and results are demanded. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "Greg Goff believes Alabama will be better in 2018," 18 May 2017

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for secular

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French seculer, from Late Latin saecularis, from saeculum the present world, from Latin, generation, age, century, world; akin to Welsh hoedl lifetime

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Time Traveler for secular

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The first known use of secular was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Secular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secular. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for secular

secular

adjective
How to pronounce secular (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of secular

: not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world
: not religious
: of, relating to, or controlled by the government rather than by the church

secular

adjective
sec·​u·​lar | \ ˈse-kyə-lər How to pronounce secular (audio) \

Kids Definition of secular

1 : not concerned with religion or the church secular society secular music
2 : not belonging to a religious order a secular priest

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More from Merriam-Webster on secular

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for secular

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with secular

Spanish Central: Translation of secular

Nglish: Translation of secular for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of secular for Arabic Speakers

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