- (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
Origin of secant
Examples from the Web for secant
Historical Examples of 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
Word Origin 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).