secretary

[sek-ri-ter-ee]

noun, plural sec·re·tar·ies.


Origin of secretary

1350–1400; Middle English secretarie one trusted with private or secret matters; confidant < Medieval Latin sēcrētārius < Latin sēcrēt(um) secret (noun) + -ārius -ary
Related formssec·re·tar·y·ship, nounsub·sec·re·tar·y, noun, plural sub·sec·re·tar·ies.sub·sec·re·tar·y·ship, nounun·der·sec·re·tar·y·ship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for secretary

Contemporary Examples of secretary

Historical Examples of secretary

  • "Been and gone," was the secretary's answer, with the terseness characteristic of her.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The secretary's voice was mechanical, without any trace of feeling.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He paused, evidently expectant of laudatory corroboration from the secretary.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But the effort on the secretary's part was wholly without success.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When Smithson had left the office, Gilder turned to his secretary.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana


British Dictionary definitions for secretary

secretary

noun plural -taries

a person who handles correspondence, keeps records, and does general clerical work for an individual, organization, etc
the official manager of the day-to-day business of a society or board
(in Britain) a senior civil servant who assists a government minister
(in the US and New Zealand) the head of a government administrative department
(in Australia) the head of a public service department
diplomacy the assistant to an ambassador or diplomatic minister of certain countries
another name for secretaire
Derived Formssecretarial (ˌsɛkrɪˈtɛərɪəl), adjectivesecretaryship, noun

Word Origin for secretary

C14: from Medieval Latin sēcrētārius, from Latin sēcrētum something hidden; see secret
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 secretary
n.

late 14c., "person entrusted with secrets," from Medieval Latin secretarius "clerk, notary, confidential officer, confidant," a title applied to various confidential officers, noun use of adjective meaning "private, secret, pertaining to private or secret matters" (cf. Latin secretarium "a council-chamber, conclave, consistory"), from Latin secretum "a secret, a hidden thing" (see secret (n.)).

Meaning "person who keeps records, write letters, etc.," originally for a king, first recorded c.1400. As title of ministers presiding over executive departments of state, it is from 1590s. The word also is used in both French and English to mean "a private desk," sometimes in French form secretaire. The South African secretary bird so called (1786) in reference to its crest, which, when smooth, resembles a pen stuck over the ear. Cf. Late Latin silentiarius "privy councilor, 'silentiary," from Latin silentium "a being silent."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper