sec·​u·​lar·​ize | \ ˈse-kyə-lə-ˌrīz How to pronounce secularize (audio) \
secularized; secularizing

Definition of secularize

transitive verb

1 : to make secular
2 : to transfer from ecclesiastical to civil or lay use, possession, or control
3 : to convert to or imbue with secularism

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Other Words from secularize

secularizer noun

Examples of secularize in a Sentence

attempts to secularize the government The government secularized the hospital.
Recent Examples on the Web Congregational demise is troubling, but underreported data suggest that fear of a secularizing America may be overwrought. Ericka Andersen, WSJ, "Thank God, American Churches Are Dying," 20 Feb. 2020 Sutton might have pursued this larger, secularized picture of many recruits more fully. David A. Hollinger, Washington Post, "In World War II, serving Jesus while spying for the United States," 24 Oct. 2019 Baby New Year then became secularized by newspaper cartoonists in the 19th century, most notably with a series of covers in the The Saturday Evening Post by Joseph Christian Leyendecker from 1907 to 1943. Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "The Fascinating History Behind How Baby New Year First Started," 25 Nov. 2019 By 1847, 13 years after the missions were secularized under Mexican rule, only 34 Indians were found on the entire San Francisco Peninsula. Gary Kamiya,, "Mission Dolores’ dark legacy for Indians: From salvation to subjugation and death," 1 Nov. 2019 At one point, Alito argued that a religious symbol like the Latin cross—a symbol indisputably linked to Christianity and its fundamental beliefs—can be secularized. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Neil Gorsuch Scorns the “Offended” Atheists," 21 June 2019 The sweeping 1930s reforms of Ataturk secularized the building and brought museum status; today partially cleaned mosaics peek out from the plaster with glints of gold along the high upper gallery. National Geographic, "This heavenly building served as both church and mosque," 22 Mar. 2019 Albania was the first country to legally secularize, in 1912—while focusing lovingly, melancholically, on the human experience of totalitarianism. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "The Ghosts of Totalitarianism," 10 Jan. 2018 And as those experiments intensified and secularized in succeeding centuries, the death toll expanded exponentially. George Weigel, National Review, "The Catholic Journey to Religious Freedom," 20 Dec. 2017

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for secularize

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The first known use of secularize was in 1611

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Cite this Entry

“Secularize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce secularize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of secularize

: to take religion out of (something) : to make (something) secular
: to transfer the ownership or control of (something) from a religious organization to the state

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