[ sek-yuh-ler ]
See synonyms for: secularseculars on

  1. of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.

  2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred): secular music.

  1. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.

  2. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order; not bound by monastic vows (opposed to regular).

  3. occurring or celebrated once in an age or century: the secular games of Rome.

  4. going on from age to age; continuing through long ages.

  1. a layperson.

  2. one of the secular clergy.

Origin of secular

First recorded in 1250–1300; from Medieval Latin sēculāris, Late Latin saeculāris “worldly, temporal (opposed to eternal),” Latin: “of an age,” equivalent to Latin saecul(um) “long period, age” + -āris -ar1

Other words from secular

  • sec·u·lar·ly, adverb
  • non·sec·u·lar, adjective
  • pre·sec·u·lar, adjective
  • su·per·sec·u·lar, adjective
  • su·per·sec·u·lar·ly, adverb
  • un·sec·u·lar, adjective
  • un·sec·u·lar·ly, adverb

Words Nearby secular Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use secular in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for secular


/ (ˈsɛkjʊlə) /

  1. of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal

  2. not concerned with or related to religion

  1. not within the control of the Church

  2. (of an education, etc)

    • having no particular religious affinities

    • not including compulsory religious studies or services

  3. (of clerics) not bound by religious vows to a monastic or other order

  4. occurring or appearing once in an age or century

  5. lasting for a long time

  6. astronomy occurring slowly over a long period of time: the secular perturbation of a planet's orbit

  1. a member of the secular clergy

  2. another word for layman

Origin of secular

C13: from Old French seculer, from Late Latin saeculāris temporal, from Latin: concerning an age, from saeculum an age

Derived forms of secular

  • secularly, adverb

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 secular


[ (sek-yuh-luhr) ]

Not concerned with religion or religious matters. Secular is the opposite of sacred.

Notes for secular

Secularization refers to the declining influence of religion and religious values within a given culture. Secular humanism means, loosely, a belief in human self-sufficiency.

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.