under secretary

or un·der·sec·re·tar·y

[ uhn-der-sek-ri-ter-ee ]

noun(often initial capital letters)
  1. an official who is subordinate to a principal secretary, as in the U.S. cabinet: Under Secretary of the Treasury.

Origin of under secretary

First recorded in 1680–90

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use under secretary in a sentence

  • Then, without a sign of emotion or recognition he went back to staring at the Undersecretary with an intensity almost violent.

    Cue for Quiet | Thomas L. Sherred
  • Was Undersecretary for the Colonies in a late Administration.

  • Involuntarily she glanced at the Undersecretary, and her eyes spoke so plainly that he could not avoid taking a decisive step.

    The Saint | Antonio Fogazzaro
  • I sent his carefully written papers to an undersecretary of the World Congress and forgot the matter.

  • The Undersecretary made an answer to one of Simon's remarks.

    Cue for Quiet | Thomas L. Sherred

British Dictionary definitions for undersecretary


/ (ˌʌndəˈsɛkrətrɪ) /

nounplural -taries
  1. (in Britain)

    • any of various senior civil servants in certain government departments

    • short for undersecretary of state: any of various high officials subordinate only to the minister in charge of a department

  2. (in the US) a high government official subordinate only to the secretary in charge of a department

Derived forms of undersecretary

  • undersecretaryship, noun

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