Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Worldly rather than spiritual.
  • adj. Not specifically relating to religion or to a religious body: secular music.
  • adj. Relating to or advocating secularism.
  • adj. Not bound by monastic restrictions, especially not belonging to a religious order. Used of the clergy.
  • adj. Occurring or observed once in an age or century.
  • adj. Lasting from century to century.
  • n. A member of the secular clergy.
  • n. A layperson.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not specifically religious.
  • adj. Temporal; something that is worldly or otherwise not based on something timeless.
  • adj. Not bound by the vows of a monastic order.
  • adj. Happening once in an age or century.
  • adj. Continuing over a long period of time, long-term.
  • adj. Centuries-old, ancient.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to long-term non-periodic irregularities, especially in planetary motion.
  • adj. Unperturbed over time.
  • n. A secular ecclesiastic, or one not bound by monastic rules.
  • n. A church official whose functions are confined to the vocal department of the choir.
  • n. A layman, as distinguished from a clergyman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Coming or observed once in an age or a century.
  • adj. Pertaining to an age, or the progress of ages, or to a long period of time; accomplished in a long progress of time.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to this present world, or to things not spiritual or holy; relating to temporal as distinguished from eternal interests; not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body; worldly.
  • adj. Not regular; not bound by monastic vows or rules; not confined to a monastery, or subject to the rules of a religious community.
  • adj. Belonging to the laity; lay; not clerical.
  • n. A secular ecclesiastic, or one not bound by monastic rules.
  • n. A church official whose functions are confined to the vocal department of the choir.
  • n. A layman, as distinguished from a clergyman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Celebrated or occurring once in an age or a century.
  • Going on from age to age; accomplished or taking place in the course of ages; continued through an indefinite but long period of time; not recurrent or periodical, so far as known: as, secular change of the mean annual temperature; the secular cooling or refrigeration of the globe; the secular inequality in the motion of a planet.
  • Living for an age or ages; permanent.
  • Of or pertaining to the things of time or of this world, and dissociated from or having no concern with religious, spiritual, or sacred matters or uses; connected with or relating to the world or its affairs; concerned with mundane or temporal matters; temporal; worldly; profane: as. secular affairs; the secular press; secular education; secular music.
  • Lay, as opposed to clerical; civil. See def. 4.
  • Living in the world, not in the cloister; hence, not bound by monastic vows or rules, nor subject to a monastic order: used especially of parish priests and other non-monastic clergy, as distinguished from the monastic or regular clergy.
  • Synonyms Temporal, etc. see worldly.
  • n. l. A layman.
  • n. An ecclesiastic, such as a parish priest, who lives in the world and not in a monastery, is not subject to any monastic order or rule, and is bound only to celibacy; a secular priest: opposed to religious or regular.
  • n. An unordained church officer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or relating to clergy not bound by monastic vows
  • adj. not concerned with or devoted to religion
  • adj. characteristic of or devoted to the temporal world as opposed to the spiritual world
  • adj. characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy
  • n. someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person
  • adj. of or relating to the doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French seculer, from Late Latin saeculāris, from Latin, of an age, from saeculum, generation, age.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin saecularis ("of the age"), from saeculum (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The long reaches that were like one and the same reach, monotonous bends that were exactly alike, slipped past the steamer with their multitude of secular trees looking patiently after this grimy fragment of another world, the forerunner of change, of conquest, of trade, of massacres, of blessings.

    -Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad

    March 20, 2011

  • I was unaware of definition 3.

    3 a: occurring once in an age or a century b: existing or continuing through ages or centuries c: of or relating to a long term of indefinite duration

    January 8, 2009