Definition of secular in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsekyələr/


1Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis: secular buildings secular moral theory Contrasted with sacred.
More example sentences
  • But it did guarantee that in time American politics would largely become a secular matter.
  • So why in this secular age is a spiritual movement that seeks to eradicate the ‘self’ gaining ground?
  • Since that time, Bangladesh has been both less socialistic and less secular.
nonreligious, areligious, lay, temporal, worldly, earthly, profane
formal laic
2 Christian Church (Of clergy) not subject to or bound by religious rule; not belonging to or living in a monastic or other order. Contrasted with regular.
Example sentences
  • The rate of recruitment is probably better than that of the secular clergy, but this may be because a large percentage of the monks do not go on to priesthood.
  • Individuals were chosen from different orders and secular clergy, but primarily they came from the Dominican Order.
  • Overall the role of regulars was diminished and that of secular clergy and even laymen enhanced.
3 Astronomy Of or denoting slow changes in the motion of the sun or planets.
4 Economics (Of a fluctuation or trend) occurring or persisting over an indefinitely long period: there is evidence that the slump is not cyclical but secular
More example sentences
  • But the weakness in the U.S. manufacturing sector does not reflect a simple secular trend.
  • But if one focuses on the company's positive secular trends, the picture is different.
  • There are also other secular trends that are generating ominous forecasts about the prospects for much of the Third World.
5Occurring once every century or similarly long period (used especially in reference to celebratory games in ancient Rome).


A secular priest.
Example sentences
  • Most priests were seculars, living in the world and working amongst ordinary people.
  • Since 90 per cent of clerical émigrés were seculars, the loss of parish clergy was not far short of a half.
  • In their dealings with the seculars, Marist clergy mistakenly gave the impression that they were ‘empire building’.



Pronunciation: /ˌsekyəˈlerədē/
Example sentences
  • Modern secularity's hostility to Christianity results, not in belief in nothing, but in belief in anything.
  • So the Medium Lobster salutes Virgina's attempt to put a stop to creeping secularity in our private arrangements.
  • Serving as a melting pot of old and modern cultures, Fuzhou Road afforded a haven for thought with its mystery, romance and secularity.


Pronunciation: /ˌsekyələrəˈzāSH(ə)n/
Pronunciation: /ˌsekyələˌrīˈzāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • I do not believe the transformation of the Muslim world in a democratic direction can be achieved through compulsory secularization.
  • Furthermore, its project of modernization, including secularization, also became a source of inspiration for many.
  • Well, I have tended to believe that all the talk about the secularization of Irish culture over the past 20 years must be well-founded.


Pronunciation: /ˈsekyələˌrīz/
Example sentences
  • He secularized his merchandise, gradually retiring the Bible stories in favor of genres that were selling to young postwar consumers.
  • But for a generation, we have been secularized in this country.
  • To be sure, this was a religious motif which, in the eighteenth century, was secularized to the point of banality.


Pronunciation: /ˈsekyələrlē/
Example sentences
  • Prostitution in a secularly governed country is not an infringement upon the right of select religious factions.
  • I've done a lot of youth work not just through the church but secularly.
  • Western nations are supposed to be secularly run societies, living by a separation of church and state.


Middle English: sense 1 of the adjective and sense 2 of the adjective from Old French seculer, from Latin saecularis, from saeculum 'generation, age', used in Christian Latin to mean 'the world' (as opposed to the Church); sense 3 of the adjective, sense 4 of the adjective, and sense 5 of the adjective (early 19th century) from Latin saecularis 'relating to an age or period'.

  • Use of the word in contexts where there is a contrast between religious life and civil or lay life is based on Latin saeculum ‘generation, age’. In Christian Latin this meant ‘the world’ as opposed to the Church. Use of secular in astronomy or economics (secular acceleration, secular trend) is early 19th century, from saecularis ‘relating to an age or period’.

Words that rhyme with secular

Benbecula, molecular, specular

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sec·u·lar

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