Word of the Day : June 7, 2011


adjective SEK-yuh-ler


1 a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal

b : not overtly or specifically religious

c : not ecclesiastical or clerical

2 : not bound by monastic vows or rules; specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation

Did You Know?

"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.


Though I attended a Catholic high school, my education was not too different from that of my friends who came up through more secular institutions.

"In response, Sergeant Griffith has recruited a star lineup of atheist musicians and speakers, including the writer Richard Dawkins, to headline a secular event, possibly for the fall." -- From an article by James Dao in The New York Times, April 27, 2011

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "coiffure," our Word of the Day from May 20? The answer is ...


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