# secant

[ see-kant, -kuhnt ]
/ Ėsi kĆ¦nt, -kÉnt /
Save This Word!

noun
Geometry. an intersecting line, especially one intersecting a curve at two or more points.
Trigonometry.
1. (in a right triangle) the ratio of the hypotenuse to the side adjacent to a given angle.
2. (originally) a line from the center of a circle through one extremity of an arc to the tangent from the other extremity.
3. 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.
QUIZ
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known asā¦

## Origin ofsecant

1585ā95; <Latin secant- (stem of secÄns, present participle of secÄre to cut), equivalent to sec- verb stem (see saw1) + -ant--ant

## Words nearby secant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Ā© Random House, Inc. 2023

## British Dictionary definitions for secant

secant
/ (ĖsiĖkÉnt) /

noun
(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

## Word Origin for secant

C16: from Latin secÄre to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition Ā© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 Ā© HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

## Scientific definitions for secant

secant
[ sÄā²kÄntā² ]

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.