un·​der·​sec·​re·​tary | \ ˌən-dər-ˈse-krə-ˌter-ē , -ˈse-kə-\
variants: or under secretary

Definition of undersecretary

: a secretary immediately subordinate to a principal secretary often capitalized when used as a title the British Undersecretary for Indiathe Under Secretary of the Treasury

Examples of undersecretary in a Sentence

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Bolton, whom President Donald Trump picked on Thursday to succeed H.R. McMaster, served as the President George W. Bush's undersecretary for arms control from 2001 to 2005 before becoming US ambassador to the United Nations. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, "Duckworth slams Bolton's pick as national security adviser," 23 Mar. 2018 Wilkie served as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness under Defense Secretary Jim Mattis before being tapped by Trump to lead the VA, after the president ousted Dr. David Shulkin in late March. Jennifer Griffin, Fox News, "New VA secretary warns Trump's signature program could collapse without fix," 3 Aug. 2018 As Jackson awaits Senate confirmation, the acting VA secretary will be Robert Wilkie, who serves as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who is focused on such areas as health, welfare, and quality of life. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump ousts Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin in administration’s latest shake-up," 29 Mar. 2018 Wilkie served as acting VA secretary after Shulkin’s firing in March, before returning to his role as Pentagon undersecretary. Hope Yen, The Seattle Times, "Senate confirms Robert Wilkie for Veterans Affairs secretary," 24 July 2018 Wilkie is a former Pentagon undersecretary for personnel and readiness. NBC News, "Trump nominates Robert Wilkie to head Veterans Affairs," 18 May 2018 Pentagon undersecretary Robert Wilkie will take over the nation's largest health care system as acting secretary until Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, official physician to the president, can take his place. Josh Hafner, USA TODAY, "OnPolitics Today: VA chief David Shulkin is done. Next up for Trump? Amazon, maybe," 28 Mar. 2018 Robert Wilkie, currently the undersecretary of for Personnel and Readiness at the Defense Department, will serve as acting secretary for Veterans Affairs while Jackson awaits Senate confirmation, Trump said. Fortune, "Trump Replaces Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin With Presidential Physician," 28 Mar. 2018 Shulkin, a physician and former hospital administrator who served as VA’s undersecretary of health from July 2015 until last January, is the administration’s lone holdover from the Obama administration. Lisa Rein, Philly.com, "VA chief Shulkin, staff misled ethics officials about European trip, report finds," 14 Feb. 2018

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

1687, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for undersecretary

The first known use of undersecretary was in 1687

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English Language Learners Definition of undersecretary

: a high-ranking government official who serves under a department secretary or other high official

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