The Meaning of Secular: What It Is and How To Use It

If someone says that something is secular, what does that mean? This article will detail the meaning of secular and how to use it.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

You may have heard the term secular in conversations about religion, government, or education. What does this word mean, and how can you use it in a sentence? 

This article will teach you all about what secular means, where the word comes from, and how to use it. Keep reading to learn more!

What Does Secular Mean?

Secular is an adjective that refers to something that is not religious but is rather temporal and worldly. This can be used in specific circumstances to refer to a school that is not religious, as well as members of the clergy that are not bound by monastic vows or a part of a religious order. The word secular is three syllables: sec-u-lar.

If something has secular characteristics, it is not associated with anything religious or spiritual. 

In astronomy, the word secular refers to something that occurs very slowly over a long period of time or long duration, like the secular perturbation of a planet and its orbit.

What Is the Origin of the Word Secular?

According to Dictionary, secular has been used since the Middle English seculer in the 13th century. This word comes from the Old French seculer and Medieval Latin sēculāris, stemming from the Late Latin saeculāris. All of these terms come from the Latin word saeculum.

How Can We Use Secular in a Sentence?

Secular is used to discuss things that are not religious or connected to religion. Knowing the definition of the word secular is one thing, but it is very important to know how to use it in a sentence, too. 

Study the below example sentences to learn how to use the word secular:

She was a long-term believer in Catholicism and did not enjoy the secular trends and doctrine she felt were perpetuated by the media.

The secular clergy did not belong to a specific order. One secular priest preferred this freedom to connect with the spiritual world in the way he saw fit, but others missed the structure of religious considerations.

The priests felt that the temporal world was too concerned with secular and worldly things and not their long-term growth spiritually. A professional person might have all of the success in the world, but if they do not follow religious traditions and spirituality, is it all for naught?

We studied the secular architecture of the government and public health systems in our political science class. In social sciences, we study the secular games of Ancient Rome.

The vocal department of the choir at Princeton University was secular. 

The ordinary people believed in the rejection of God and other religious bodies or monastic rules and that the only sacred things were secular and worth a lot of money. These economic phenomena were partially due to their American heritage.

The secular clerics did not fall under the control of the church monastery and enjoyed their freedom. They did not have to have religious vows, do compulsory religious studies, or adhere to the full monastic rule of a religious order.

What Are Translations of Secular?

The concept of secularity is present all around the world. Study these translations of secular from Nice Translator to learn how to talk about religion (and the lack thereof) with people all over.

  • Kannada: ಜಾತ್ಯತೀತ
  • Slovenian: sekularna
  • Portuguese (Portugal): secular
  • Gujarati: ધર્મનિરપેક્ષ
  • Slovak: sekulárny
  • Estonian: ilmalik
  • Amharic: ዓለማዊ
  • Indonesian: sekuler
  • Tamil: மதச்சார்பற்ற
  • Polish: świecki
  • Chinese (PRC): 世俗
  • German: weltlich
  • Czech: světský
  • Ukrainian: світський
  • Hebrew: חילוני
  • Korean: 속가
  • Portuguese (Brazil): secular
  • Hindi: धर्मनिरपेक्ष
  • Latvian: laicīgs
  • Arabic: علماني
  • Marathi: धर्मनिरपेक्ष
  • Danish: sekulært
  • Icelandic: veraldlega
  • Hungarian: világi
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 世俗
  • Japanese: 世俗的に
  • Telugu: లౌకిక
  • Spanish: secular
  • Malay: sekular
  • Croatian: svjetovan
  • Welsh: seciwlar
  • Lithuanian: Sekuliarija
  • Urdu: دنیاوی
  • Malayalam: മതേതര
  • Bulgarian: светски
  • Thai: เป็นฆราวาส
  • Basque: hondoko
  • Swahili: kidunia
  • Vietnamese: thế tục.
  • French: séculier
  • Russian: светящийся
  • Turkish: laik
  • Serbian: секуларни
  • Catalan: secular
  • Greek: κοσμικός
  • Swedish: sekulär
  • Romanian: laic
  • Italian: secolare
  • Filipino: sekular
  • Bengali: ধর্মনিরপেক্ষ
  • Norwegian: sekulær
  • Finnish: maallinen
  • Dutch: seculair

What Are Synonyms of the Word Secular?

Power Thesaurus lists many words that mean the same thing as secular or are related to the word secular!

  • atheistic
  • centenary
  • centennial
  • civil
  • civilian
  • corporeal
  • deconsecrated
  • desecrate
  • earthbound
  • earthly
  • earthly-minded
  • earthy
  • fleshly
  • godless
  • human
  • impious
  • irreligious
  • irreverent
  • laic
  • laical
  • laity
  • lay
  • lay people
  • lay person
  • layman
  • laymen
  • laypeople
  • layperson
  • laypersons
  • lays
  • material
  • materialistic
  • mortal
  • mundane
  • non-religious
  • nonclerical
  • nonreligious
  • nonspecialist
  • nonspiritual
  • object-oriented
  • of this world
  • parishioner
  • physical
  • profane
  • secularism
  • secularist
  • telluric
  • temporal
  • terrene
  • terrestrial
  • unblessed
  • unconsecrated
  • ungodly
  • unhallowed
  • unholy
  • uninitiated
  • unsacred
  • unsanctified
  • worldly

What Are Antonyms of the Word Secular?

Power Thesaurus also lists numerous opposites of the word secular.

  • abbe
  • abbey
  • abbot
  • acting
  • adorable
  • ambrosial
  • anchoritic
  • anointed
  • ashram
  • asphalted
  • assistant curate
  • autem bawler
  • autem jet
  • autem-bawler
  • basilica
  • beautiful
  • before a minister of religion
  • bethel
  • blessed
  • bodiless
  • cathedral
  • celestial
  • chancel
  • chantry
  • chapel
  • chaplain
  • chaste
  • christian man
  • church
  • church house
  • church teacher
  • church-going man
  • churches
  • church-going
  • churchly
  • churchman
  • churchmen
  • churchwoman
  • churchy
  • clergyman
  • clerical
  • consecrated
  • devout
  • divine
  • ecclesiastical
  • godlike
  • godly
  • hallowed
  • holy
  • hotshot
  • immaterial
  • incorporeal
  • man of the cloth
  • man of the lord
  • minister of religion
  • minister of the gospel
  • numinous
  • pious
  • priest
  • psychogenic
  • religious
  • religious-minded
  • sacred
  • sacrosanct
  • sainted
  • servant of God
  • shrine
  • spiritual
  • unearthly
  • unworldly


Secular is an adjective that refers to things that are not connected to a religion or are otherwise worldly. This term is often used with regard to education or government, as well as members of the clergy that are not connected to a specific monastic vow.


  1. Secular synonyms – 402 Words and Phrases for Secular | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Secular antonyms – 244 Opposites of Secular | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Secular Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Secular | Nice Translator