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

The second secular trend is blockchain and cryptocurrency. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Jack Dorsey says now is our chance to build a global currency for the internet," 14 June 2019 On the secular side, the European Humanist Federation, grouping about 60 smaller bodies in more than 20 countries, is the EU’s main interlocutor. Erasmus, The Economist, "Europe’s secularists worry about the rise of Christian-nativist populism," 11 June 2019 The roles, reportedly required of one man and one woman for secular Turkish weddings, are often filled by people close to the couple. Motez Bishara, CNN, "Turkish President Erdogan attends wedding of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil," 8 June 2019 For many other Muslims and I, holding onto traditional practices in a society that is becoming more and more secular is important. Nadra Widatalla, Teen Vogue, "Why Ramadan Is Important to Me in an Islamophobic America," 7 May 2019 Revenue growth is driven not just by a steady rise in global transactions, but also by the secular trend toward electronic payments. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Wait for a Better Bargain on Visa, Mastercard Shares," 25 Nov. 2018 But history suggests that secular trends alone are insufficient for predicting preeminence. Ali Wyne, The New Republic, "Is America Choosing Decline?," 21 June 2018 Overall, the underlying secular trends remain with the fast-growing e-commerce sector. Suzette Parmley, Philly.com, "December's retail sales were the best in three years; Philly retailers did well too," 12 Jan. 2018 Some American liberals today—especially the secular, who are often ignorant of intra-religious conflicts—have a tendency to see the Christian right as typical of all politically active Christian denominations. Linda Gordon, The New Republic, "How birth-control leaders found allies in American religious groups," 5 Apr. 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 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

18 Jun 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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