secular

adjective
sec·u·lar | \ ˈse-kyə-lər \

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 \
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, -ˈla-rə- \ noun
secularly \ˈse-kyə-lər-lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for secular

Synonyms: Adjective

nonreligious, profane, temporal

Antonyms: Adjective

religious, sacred

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Did You Know?

Adjective

Secular comes from Anglo-French seculer and Late Latin saecularis, meaning "worldly" or "pagan." In earlier Latin, however, saecularis meant "coming or observed once in an age;" it was derived from "saeculum" ("breed," "generation," or "age"). 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, but, going back to its early Latin root, the word also means "occuring once in an age or a century," "existing or continuing through ages or centuries," and "of or relating to a long term of indefinite duration." These uses of "secular" are common in the fields of science and economics - "secular oak trees" or "secular inflation," for example.

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

Three days earlier, another terrorist group, the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for a blast at a rally of a secular party in Peshawar city that killed at least 20 people, including the party’s candidate, Haroon Bilour. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Deadly Bombings and Ex-Leader’s Arrest Roil Pakistan Before Vote," 13 July 2018 The gesture seemed intended to mollify opponents who have accused Mr. Erdogan of seeking to unravel the secular parliamentary republic that was Mr. Ataturk’s legacy. New York Times, "Erdogan Begins New Term and Names His Son-in-Law Finance Minister," 9 July 2018 To the outside world, the election was the latest step in Erdogan's systematic consolidation of power and his bid to transform the once-staunchly secular republic in his more religiously minded image. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "What the world’s nationalists can learn from Turkey and Erdogan," 26 June 2018 What Peterson and even Bronze Age Pervert understand is that people fundamentally need stories of meaning, and that in an increasingly secular age, those stories are not necessarily culturally present. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The religious hunger that drives Jordan Peterson’s fandom," 1 June 2018 Lately, parties have delighted Iraq’s increasingly secular voters by forming broad coalitions that campaign on issues. The Economist, "Fifteen years after America’s invasion, Iraq is doing well," 28 Mar. 2018 What are the compromises the Church makes in an increasingly secular world? Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Collateral': TV Review," 8 Mar. 2018 The attacks came days after a suicide bomber dispatched by the Pakistani Taliban killed secular politician Haroon Ahmed Bilour and 20 others at his rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar. NBC News, "More than 100 people killed in Pakistan election violence," 14 July 2018 The Federalist Society is a secular organization which includes people of many religious faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Why all the anti-Catholic conspiracy-mongering?," 9 July 2018

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

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

Noun

see secular entry 1

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for secular

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

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More Definitions for secular

secular

adjective

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 \

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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