a. Worldly rather than spiritual: the secular affairs of the parish.
b. Not relating to religion or to a religious body; nonreligious: secular music.
c. Not bound by the full monastic rule of a religious order. Used of clergy.
2. Relating to or advocating secularism.
a. Occurring or observed once in an age or century, as games in ancient Rome.
b. Lasting or persisting for a long time: a secular bear market.
c. Astronomy Of or relating to characteristics of astronomical phenomena that change slowly over time.
1. A member of the secular clergy.
2. A layperson.
[Middle English, from Old French seculer, from Late Latin saeculāris, from Latin, of an age, from saeculum, generation, age.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.