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1

(alsoMathematics**sec**)

The ratio of the hypotenuse to the shorter side adjacent to an acute angle (in a right-angled triangle); the reciprocal of a cosine.*‘The secant of this angle is 1.61806 which is remarkably close to the golden ratio 1.618034.’**‘The secant and cosecant were not used by the early astronomers or surveyors.’**‘When you move the cursor over a button on the calculator, a description of its function appears - sine of a number, cosine, secant, etc.’**‘He gave a table of secants and, although Delambre credited him with the first use of this function, it had appeared earlier in the work of Copernicus.’**‘It also gave tables of natural sine functions to 15 decimal places, and the tan and sec functions to 10 decimal places.’*

2Geometry

A straight line that cuts a curve in two or more parts.*‘Note that the air mass is approximately equal to the secant of the zenith angle (that angle from directly overhead to a line intersecting the sun).’**‘In this projection the meridians are vertical and parallels having increased spacing in proportion to the secant of the latitude.’**‘Direct irradiance was attenuated as described by Beer's law, with the optical path length increasing approximately as the secant of the solar zenith angle.’*

**Origin**

Late 16th century; from French sécante, based on Latin secare ‘to cut’.

**Pronunciation**

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