secretary of state

or Secretary of State


the head and chief administrator of the U.S. Department of State.Compare foreign minister.
British. any of several ministers in the British government: A new secretary of state for the Home Department has been appointed.
(in the U.S.) the appointed or elected official in a state government whose chief function is to distribute statutes, administer elections, keep archives, etc.



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Origin of secretary of state

First recorded in 1610–20 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for secretary of state

  • Secretary-of-State Seward was stabbed in his sick-bed by one of Booth's co-conspirators.

    Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout|Alfred Bishop Mason

British Dictionary definitions for secretary of state

secretary of state


(in Britain) the head of any of several government departments
(in the US) the head of the government department in charge of foreign affairs (State Department)
(in certain US states) an official with various duties, such as keeping records
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

Cultural definitions for secretary of state

secretary of state

The head of the United States Department of State and, as leading member of the cabinet, fourth in line of succession to the presidency. The secretary of state is charged with formulating American foreign policy and conducting relations with other nations.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.