[see-kant, -kuh nt]
- Geometry. an intersecting line, especially one intersecting a curve at two or more points.
- (in a right triangle) the ratio of the hypotenuse to the side adjacent to a given angle.
- (originally) a line from the center of a circle through one extremity of an arc to the tangent from the other extremity.
- the ratio of the length of this line to that of the radius of the circle; the reciprocal of the cosine of a given angle or arc. Abbreviation: sec
- cutting or intersecting, as one line or surface in relation to another.
Origin of secant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for secant
The complement of the logarithm of a sine, tangent, or secant.
Secant equals one over cosine—um-m-m-m—one point oh three five.Skylark Three
Edward Elmer Smith
Every ray through S1 or S2 which is not a secant determines one of them.
That which is made by a right line, whether tangent or secant, with the circumference of a circle.
The oblongs made of any secant from the same point, and of the outter segment of the secant are equall betweene themselves.The Way To Geometry
- (of an angle) a trigonometric function that in a right-angled triangle is the ratio of the length of the hypotenuse to that of the adjacent side; the reciprocal of cosineAbbreviation: sec
- a line that intersects a curve
C16: from Latin secāre to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for secant
1590s, from Latin secantem (nominative secans) "a cutting," present participle of secare "to cut" (see section (n.)). First used by Danish mathematician Thomas Fincke in "Geometria Rotundi" (1583).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A straight line or ray that intersects a curve, especially a circle, at two or more points.
- The ratio of the length of the hypotenuse in a right triangle to the side adjacent to an acute angle. The secant is the inverse of the cosine.
- The reciprocal of the abscissa of the endpoint of an arc of a unit circle centered at the origin of a Cartesian coordinate system, the arc being of length x and measured counterclockwise from the point (1, 0) if x is positive or clockwise if x is negative.
- A function of a number x, equal to the secant of an angle whose measure in radians is equal to x.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.