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

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

Art’s metaphor of illumination, secular or spiritual, is invoked. Los Angeles Times, "Review: In Mary Corse’s light paintings at LACMA, some shadows," 5 Aug. 2019 For this is a monumental work that daringly breaks down boundaries between classical and jazz, sacred and secular, concert and theater. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: A powerful Passion closes Minnesota Orchestra’s Latin Sommerfest," 3 Aug. 2019 Veiling — and prohibitions of the practice — has had a particularly fraught history in Tunisia, a Muslim-majority country known for both its strong secular and Islamist movements. Washington Post, "Tunisia becomes the latest country to ban full-face veils after a spate of terrorist attacks," 5 July 2019 One is newly active Catholic social conservatives who fall between the establishment Républicains party and the far-right Rassemblement National (né Front National), both of which are generally secular. Mark Lilla, The New York Review of Books, "How to Write About the Right: An Exchange," 17 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, the country has, in recent years, become increasingly secular and liberal, countering traditional, conservative Catholic social policy. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Pope Francis is heading to Ireland in the midst of scandal. It may be his toughest crowd yet.," 24 Aug. 2018 People living in our increasingly secular culture are hungry for spiritual wisdom and transcendent purpose. Ericka Andersen, WSJ, "Is God the Answer to the Suicide Epidemic?," 11 July 2019 Members of her charity’s board of directors saw her as an intolerant manager who hated to be upstaged; some of the more secular-minded members grew uneasy with Ms. Williamson’s penchant for opening fund-raisers with prayer. Sam Kestenbaum, New York Times, "The Curious Mystical Text Behind Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid," 5 July 2019 The niqab and hijab, or headscarf, were banned under secular governments until the ouster of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime in 2011, Reuters reports. Michelle Lou, CNN, "Tunisia bans full-face coverings in public institutions after twin bombings," 5 July 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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Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with secular

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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