• (British) IPA: /ˈsɛkjʊlə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈsɛkjələɹ/


  1. Not specifically religious; lay or civil, as opposed to clerical.
  2. Temporal; worldly, or otherwise not based on something timeless.
  3. (Christianity) Not bound by the vows of a monastic order.
    secular clergy in Catholicism
  4. Happening once in an age or century.
    The secular games of ancient Rome were held to mark the end of a saeculum and the beginning of the next.
  5. Continuing over a long period of time, long-term.
    The long-term growth in population and income accounts for most secular trends in economic phenomena.
    on a secular basis
    • 2005, Alpha Chiang and Kevin Wainwright, Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics (4th ed.), McGraw-Hill International, p. 501
      In this event, the s\phi(k) curve in Fig. 15.5 will be subject to a secular upward shift, resulting in successively higher intersections with the \lambda k ray and also in larger values of \bar k.
  6. (literary) Centuries-old, ancient.
    • 1899 April, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number MII, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, […], OCLC 1042815524 ↗, part III (Conclusion):
      The long reaches that were like one and the same reach, monotonous bends that were exactly alike, slipped past the steamer with their multitude of secular trees looking patiently after this grimy fragment of another world, the forerunner of change, of conquest, of trade, of massacres, of blessings.
  7. (astrophysics, geology) Relating to long-term non-periodic irregularities, especially in planetary motion or magnetic field.
    • 2003, E. T. Jaynes, Probability Theory: The Logic of Science, Cambridge University Press, pages 234–235:
      Laplace (1749–1827) "saved the world" by using probability theory to estimate the parameters accurately enough to show that the drift of Jupiter was not secular after all; the observations at hand had covered only a fraction of a cycle of an oscillation with a period of about 880 years.
  8. (atomic physics) Unperturbed over time.
    • 2000, S. A. Dikanov, Two-dimensional ESEEM Spectroscopy, in New Advances in Analytical Chemistry (Atta-ur-Rahman, ed.), page 539
      The secular A and nonsecular B parts of hyperfine interaction for any particular frequencies να and νβ are derived from eqn.(21) by ...
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secular (plural seculars)

  1. A secular ecclesiastic, or one not bound by monastic rules.
  2. A church official whose functions are confined to the vocal department of the choir.
  3. A layman, as distinguished from a clergyman.

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