# secant

[ see-kant, -kuhnt ]

/ ˈsi kænt, -kənt /

### noun

Geometry. an intersecting line, especially one intersecting a curve at two or more points.

Trigonometry.

- (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

### adjective

cutting or intersecting, as one line or surface in relation to another.

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## Origin of secant

## OTHER WORDS FROM secant

se·cant·ly, adverb## Words nearby secant

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Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

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## British Dictionary definitions for secant

secant

/ (ˈsiːkənt) /

### 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

## Derived forms of secant

secantly, adverb## Word Origin for secant

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

## Scientific definitions for secant

secant

[ sē′kănt′ ]

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.