- a person, usually an official, who is in charge of the records, correspondence, minutes of meetings, and related affairs of an organization, company, association, etc.: the secretary of the Linguistic Society of America.
- a person employed to handle correspondence and do routine work in a business office, usually involving taking dictation, typing, filing, and the like.
- private secretary.
- (often initial capital letter) an officer of state charged with the superintendence and management of a particular department of government, as a member of the president's cabinet in the U.S.: Secretary of the Treasury.
- Also called diplomatic secretary. a diplomatic official of an embassy or legation who ranks below a counselor and is usually assigned as first secretary, second secretary, or third secretary.
- a piece of furniture for use as a writing desk.
- Also called secretary bookcase. a desk with bookshelves on top of it.
Origin of secretary
Examples from the Web for secretary
And compare, as noted up top, to Secretary Clinton, who spent years quietly pushing a modernized Cuba policy.Rubio’s Embargo Anger Plays to the Past
December 19, 2014
Even Defense Secretary Gates, at least for a time, was open to the notion.
In order to withhold the photographs, the secretary of defense must certify that photographs could cause harm to Americans.
ALEC echoed the ideology of Charles Wilson, the first Defense Secretary in the Eisenhower administration.The Left’s Answer to ALEC
December 15, 2014
But the president and secretary need to be very careful here.The Inside Story of U.S. Meddling in Israel’s Elections
Aaron David Miller
December 4, 2014
"Been and gone," was the secretary's answer, with the terseness characteristic of her.
The secretary's voice was mechanical, without any trace of feeling.
He paused, evidently expectant of laudatory corroboration from the secretary.
But the effort on the secretary's part was wholly without success.
When Smithson had left the office, Gilder turned to his secretary.
- 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 Britain) See secretary of state (def. 1)
- (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
Word Origin and History for secretary
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."