Word of the Day : March 16, 2012


verb sih-KREET


1 : to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

2 : to appropriate secretly : abstract

Did You Know?

If you guessed that the secret to the origins of "secrete" is the word "secret," you are correct. "Secrete" was coined in the mid-18th century from a now obsolete verb "secret." That verb had the meaning now carried by "secrete" and derived from the familiar noun "secret" ("something kept hidden or unexplained"). The noun, in turn, traces back to the Latin verb "secernere," meaning "to separate" or "to distinguish." Incidentally, there is an earlier and distinct verb "secrete" with the more scientific meaning "to form and give off (a secretion)." That "secrete" is a back-formation from "secretion," another word that can be traced back to "secernere."


The squirrel had secreted nuts all over the yard in preparation for winter, and as spring approached, more were still to be found.

"With either engine [the Porsche 911 Cabriolet] is flipping fast, particularly above 4,000 rpm, and it makes all the right noises too, from bellows and wails to enough pops and crackles when you lift off the throttle to make you wonder if somebody has secreted some Rice Krispies up the exhaust." - From a review by Chris Knapman in The Telegraph (United Kingdom), February 15, 2012

Word Family Quiz

What is the meaning of the verb "secern" (another descendant of "secernere")? The answer is ...


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