Meaning of secular in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsɛkjʊlə/

See synonyms for secular

Translate secular into Spanish


  • 1Not connected with religious or spiritual matters.

    Contrasted with sacred

    ‘secular buildings’
    • ‘secular attitudes to death’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With all this talk of Christianity, it is easy to imagine government becoming less secular.’
    • ‘To the contrary, the Court found that the School Board sought to advance two secular purposes.’
    • ‘What sort of meaning does marriage have in our modern secular society?’
    • ‘Her quest for the big answer leads her to accept Confucianism and nonreligious Buddhism as well as secular humanism.’
    • ‘He argues for more state funding of religious institutions within an increasingly secular society.’
    • ‘Seven years earlier, France had erected a government that was intended to be purely secular.’
    • ‘No law says that advertisements have to be purely secular - except the law of supply and demand.’
    • ‘Some of the more secular trends in humanism dared to defend happiness in the here and now.’
    • ‘Since that time, however, the French Canadian community has become more secular.’
    • ‘The truth is that, the milieu in which Popper grew up was militantly secular.’
    • ‘Most of the hoopla connected with the year 2000 was predominantly secular in origin and character.’
    • ‘I agree that education should be essentially secular.’
    • ‘Over time, however, the values of psychotherapy have made inroads into religious as well as secular culture.’
    • ‘Although it had some religious overtones, Carnival has become a purely secular event.’
    • ‘Primary education, having become universal and largely public, became overwhelmingly secular.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the attitudes of the younger generation are largely secular and wised up.’
    • ‘Nowadays, of course, Christmas is a largely secular affair.’
    non-religious, lay, non-church, temporal, worldly, earthly, profane
    View synonyms
  • 2Christian 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

    ‘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.’
    • ‘The secular clergy from nearby parishes recruited maidens from needy or troubled homes.’
    • ‘As the author notes, Maria's case was championed by the Jesuits, while her doubters were the secular or parish clergy.’
  • 3Astronomy
    Of or denoting slow changes in the motion of the sun or planets.

  • 4Economics
    (of a fluctuation or trend) occurring or persisting over an indefinitely long period.

    ‘there is evidence that the slump is not cyclical but secular’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are three spikes, but the secular trend is pretty obvious: down, down, down.’
    • ‘A few weeks ago, I opined that the market probably had reverted to the primary secular trend.’
  • 5Occurring once every century or similarly long period (used especially in reference to celebratory games in ancient Rome).


  • A secular priest.

    ‘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’.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, and without overt religious logic, the regime plundered the church, taxing the seculars heavily while abolishing the regular orders entirely and confiscating their wealth.’
    • ‘To the seculars, this text suggested that the group of Apostles was accustomed to holding a purse in common, and that they used the money from it both to maintain themselves and to give alms.’


Middle English secular (sense 1 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); secular (sense 3 of the adjective, secular sense 4 of the adjective, secular sense 5 of the adjective) (early 19th century) from Latin saecularis ‘relating to an age or period’.