a layperson.
one of the secular clergy.

Origin of secular

1250–1300; < Medieval Latin sēculāris, Late Latin saeculāris worldly, temporal (opposed to eternal), Latin: of an age, equivalent to Latin saecul(um) long period of time + -āris -ar1; replacing Middle English seculer < Old French < Latin, as above
Related formssec·u·lar·ly, adverbnon·sec·u·lar, adjectivepre·sec·u·lar, adjectivesu·per·sec·u·lar, adjectivesu·per·sec·u·lar·ly, adverbun·sec·u·lar, adjectiveun·sec·u·lar·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for un-secular



of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal
not concerned with or related to religion
not within the control of the Church
(of an education, etc)
  1. having no particular religious affinities
  2. not including compulsory religious studies or services
(of clerics) not bound by religious vows to a monastic or other order
occurring or appearing once in an age or century
lasting for a long time
astronomy occurring slowly over a long period of timethe secular perturbation of a planet's orbit


a member of the secular clergy
another word for layman
Derived Formssecularly, adverb

Word Origin for secular

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



c.1300, "living in the world, not belonging to a religious order," also "belonging to the state," from Old French seculer (Modern French séculier), from Late Latin saecularis "worldly, secular, pertaining to a generation or age," from Latin saecularis "of an age, occurring once in an age," from saeculum "age, span of time, generation."

According to Watkins, this is probably from PIE *sai-tlo-, with instrumental element *-tlo- + *sai- "to bind, tie" (see sinew), extended metaphorically to successive human generations as links in the chain of life. Another theory connects it with words for "seed," from PIE root *se- "to sow" (see sow (v.), and cf. Gothic mana-seþs "mankind, world," literally "seed of men").

Used in ecclesiastical writing like Greek aion "of this world" (see cosmos). It is source of French siècle. Ancient Roman ludi saeculares was a three-day, day-and-night celebration coming once in an "age" (120 years). In English, in reference to humanism and the exclusion of belief in God from matters of ethics and morality, from 1850s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for un-secular



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


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.