from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Second or lower in rank or importance; not primary.
  • adjective Following what is first in time or sequence.
  • adjective Of or relating to secondary schools.
  • adjective Derived from what is primary or original.
  • adjective Not immediate or direct.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of a bird's wing.
  • adjective Electricity Having an induced current that is generated by an inductively coupled primary. Used of a circuit or coil.
  • adjective Relating to, or having a carbon atom that is attached to two other carbon atoms in a molecule.
  • adjective Relating to the replacement of two of several atoms or groups in a compound, such as an amine in which two valences of the functional group are taken by carbon atoms.
  • adjective Geology Produced from another mineral by decay or alteration.
  • adjective Of or relating to a secondary color or colors.
  • adjective Being a degree of health care intermediate between primary care and tertiary care, as that typically offered at a community hospital.
  • adjective Botany Of, relating to, or derived from a lateral meristem, especially a cambium.
  • noun One that acts in an auxiliary, subordinate, or inferior capacity.
  • noun One of the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of a bird's wing.
  • noun Electricity A coil or circuit having an induced current.
  • noun Astronomy A celestial body that orbits another; a satellite.
  • noun The dimmer star of a binary star.
  • noun A secondary color.
  • noun Football The defensive backfield.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In geology, applied to those rock-making minerals which are the products of the alteration or decay of the minerals, original or primary, in the rock. Thus quartz, feldspar, and mica are primary in granite, whereas kaolin, arising from the decay of the feldspar, is secondary.
  • In electricity: Pertaining to those parts of a transformer, or induction-coil, in which the induced currents occur, as distinguished from the corresponding parts of the primary or inducing circuit; as the secondary coils, windings, turns, or terminals of a transformer.
  • Pertaining to the induced current or electromotive force in a transformer or induction-coil.
  • noun plural The symptoms occurring in the second stage of syphilis.
  • noun One of the smaller tubercles on the surface of the test in the Echinoidea or sea-urchins. The secondaries are intermediate in size between the primaries and the miliaries.
  • noun In English law, the second officer of the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas; also, an officer of the Corporation of London who hears inquiries to assess damages in cases where the defendant does not appear.
  • noun In an alternating-current transformer or other apparatus having several circuits in inductive relation to each other, that coil or circuit which receives power by induction from the primary coil.
  • Of asecond class or group; second, not merely as so counted, but in its own nature; appropriately reckoned as second; fulfilling a function similar to that which is primary, but less important: opposed to primary or principal.
  • Subordinate; inferior.
  • In ornithology:
  • Of the second order, rank, row, or series, between the primary and the tertiary, as remiges or flight-feathers. See cuts under covert, n., 6, and bird.
  • Pertaining to the secondaries: as, the secondary coverts.
  • In mineralogy, subsequent in origin; produced by chemical change or by mechanical or other means after the original mineral was formed: said of cleavage, twinning, etc.: as, the secondary twinning sometimes developed in pyroxene and other species by pressure.
  • [capitalized] In paleon., same as Mesozoic
  • In modern philos., since Galileo (who in 1623 calls the qualities known as primary “primi accidenti”) and Boyle (who in 1666 uses the term “secondary qualities, if I may so call them,” in precisely the modern signification), affections of bodies; affective, patible, sensible qualities; imputed qualities; qualities of bodies relative to the organs of sense, as color, taste, smell, etc.: opposed to those characters (called primary qualities, though properly speaking they are not qualities at all) which we cannot imagine bodies as wanting. Sometimes called secondary properties.
  • noun A delegate or deputy; one who acts in subordination to another; one who occupies a subordinate or inferior position; specifically, a cathedral dignitary of the second rank, such as a minor canon, precentor, singing clerk, etc. The application of the title varies in different cathedrals.
  • noun A thing which is of second or secondary position or importance, or is dependent on a primary: said of circles, planets, etc.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun A secondary remex or flight-feather; one of the large quills of a bird's wing which are seated on the forearm, and intervene between the primaries and the tertiaries. They vary in number from six (in humming-birds) to forty or more (in albatrosses). See cuts under bird and covert.
  • noun In entomology, one of the posterior or hind wings of an insect, especially of a butterfly or moth. See cut under Cirrophanus.
  • noun [capitalized] In geology, that part of the series of fossi-liferous formations which lies between the Primary or Paleozoic and the Tertiary or Cænozoic.
  • noun In meteorology, a subsidiary cyclonic circulation, generally on the border of a primary cyclone, accompanied by rain, thunder-storms, and squalls: indicated on a weather-map by the bulging of an isobar toward the region of higher pressure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who occupies a subordinate, inferior, or auxiliary place; a delegate or deputy; one who is second or next to the chief officer.
  • noun A secondary circle.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Latin secundārius ("of the second class or quality"), from secundus (whence the English second) + -ārius (whence the English suffix -ary); compare the French secondaire, the Italian secondario, the Occitan secundari, the Portuguese secundario, and the Spanish secundario.


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  • Lorrie Norrington, President of eBay Marketplaces, defined what eBay meant by the term secondary market in answering a two-part question from one of the analysts in attendance.

    AuctionBytes Blog by Ina Steiner 2009

  • After exactly two decades, Dr Melvyn Kershaw has packed up his rucksack and left the comprehensive whose stewardship has earned him the title secondary school headteacher of the year.

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  • Sarwer, can't guarantee satisfaction for patients who yearn for what he calls secondary benefits, such as, 'I'm recently widowed and want to get back into the dating scene.'

    A Nip and a Tuck Robert Johnson 2011

  • In addition to the line, the secondary is a question mark for the Terrapins, who will be looking for Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez to step up their game now that they are the projected starters at safety, while redshirt freshman Dexter McDougle could find himself starting at corner.

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  • The defense loses five starters, but defensive tackle Jared Crick anchors a strong line, and the secondary is the deepest it's been in years.

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  • So some folks are going to be seeing what we call a secondary crest.

    CNN Transcript Jun 21, 2008 2008

  • That ` s what I call secondary embarrassment viral video.

    CNN Transcript Jan 19, 2007 2007

  • '' Every team has a weakness, and that team, the secondary is a weakness, and that's what we tried to exploit, '' Frerotte said. - Scores 2005

  • But given the fact that she had the command hallucinations in the past and that this time she did not try to resist them suggests to me that she had what we call secondary gains in being ill.

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  • Having children here is what we call a secondary effect of migration; it's something that is so far down the line, the possibility of using a child to legalize your status, that it's rarely given as a reason, when we interview immigrants, for coming to this country.

    CNN Transcript Mar 31, 2005 2005


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