# Secant definition

sēkănt, -kənt
The reciprocal of the cosine of an angle in a right triangle.
noun
A straight line intersecting a curve at two or more points.
noun
The straight line drawn from the center through one end of a circular arc and intersecting the tangent to the other end of the arc.
noun
The ratio of the length of this line to the length of the radius of the circle.
noun
Cutting; intersecting.
(geom.) Any straight line intersecting a curve at two or more points.
noun
(trigonometry) The reciprocal of the cosine.
• The ratio of the hypotenuse to the adjacent side of a given acute angle in a right triangle.
• An equivalent, positive or negative ratio for certain related angles (Ex.: the secant of 57° or 303° is 1.8362, of 123° or 237° is −1.8362) or real numbers representing radians (Ex.: the secant of .9948 radians (57°) is 1.8362)
noun
A straight line or ray that intersects a curve, especially a circle, at two or more points.
The ratio of the length of the hypotenuse in a right triangle to the side adjacent to an acute angle. The secant is the inverse of the cosine.
The reciprocal of the abscissa of the endpoint of an arc of a unit circle centered at the origin of a Cartesian coordinate system, the arc being of length x and measured counterclockwise from the point (1, 0) if x is positive or clockwise if x is negative.
A function of a number x, equal to the secant of an angle whose measure in radians is equal to x.
(geometry) A straight line that intersects a curve at two or more points.
noun
(trigonometry) In a right triangle, the reciprocal of the cosine of an angle. Symbol: sec.
noun

Singular:
secant
Plural:
secants

## Origin of secant

• From Latin secāns secant- present participle of secāre to cut sek- in Indo-European roots

### From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

• From Latin secans, present participle of secare (“to cut")