Definitions

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

  • adjective Worldly rather than spiritual.
  • adjective Not relating to religion or to a religious body; nonreligious.
  • adjective Not bound by the full monastic rule of a religious order. Used of clergy.
  • adjective Relating to or advocating secularism.
  • adjective Occurring or observed once in an age or century, as games in ancient Rome.
  • adjective Lasting or persisting for a long time.
  • adjective Astronomy Of or relating to characteristics of astronomical phenomena that change slowly over time.
  • noun A member of the secular clergy.
  • noun A layperson.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun l. A layman.
  • noun 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.
  • noun An unordained church officer.

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

  • noun (Eccl.) A secular ecclesiastic, or one not bound by monastic rules.
  • noun (Eccl.) A church official whose functions are confined to the vocal department of the choir.
  • noun A layman, as distinguished from a clergyman.
  • adjective Coming or observed once in an age or a century.
  • adjective Pertaining to an age, or the progress of ages, or to a long period of time; accomplished in a long progress of time.
  • adjective 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.
  • adjective (Eccl.) Not regular; not bound by monastic vows or rules; not confined to a monastery, or subject to the rules of a religious community.
  • adjective Belonging to the laity; lay; not clerical.
  • adjective (Astron.) the algebraic or numerical expression of the magnitude of the inequalities in a planet's motion that remain after the inequalities of a short period have been allowed for.
  • adjective (Rom. Antiq.) games celebrated, at long but irregular intervals, for three days and nights, with sacrifices, theatrical shows, combats, sports, and the like.
  • adjective any music or songs not adapted to sacred uses.
  • adjective a hymn or poem composed for the secular games, or sung or rehearsed at those games.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective of or relating to clergy not bound by monastic vows
  • adjective not concerned with or devoted to religion
  • adjective characteristic of or devoted to the temporal world as opposed to the spiritual world
  • adjective characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy
  • noun someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French seculer, from Late Latin saeculāris, from Latin, of an age, from saeculum, generation, age.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin saecularis ("of the age"), from saeculum

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

  • 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