Definition of secretary in English:



  • 1A person employed by an individual or in an office to assist with correspondence, make appointments, and carry out administrative tasks.

    ‘she was secretary to David Wilby MP’
    • ‘She was then working as a secretary to Tambimuttu in that chaotic Poetry London office in Manchester Square.’
    • ‘I entered the office, dumping the counseling folder on the secretary's desk.’
    • ‘Englehardt explained that in fact plenty of people had seen it, and he sent his secretary to fetch some.’
    • ‘He is even considerate enough to take time from his day to answer fan mail personally rather than getting a secretary to do it for him.’
    • ‘She is reportedly the lowest paid secretary in the department.’
    • ‘If necessary, counsel may contact my secretary to arrange an appointment to speak to the issue of costs on this motion.’
    • ‘He pushed the door open and walked up to the secretary's desk.’
    • ‘She started in a law firm as the boss's secretary typing his letters and papers.’
    • ‘It didn't matter that Kyle had a newborn baby, or that Ryan drank too much, or that Tom was carrying on a secret affair with a secretary in the office.’
    • ‘Since it was written in shorthand, he had to ask his secretary to interpret it.’
    • ‘She waited for the secretary to pick up and transfer her to Sarah's office, where she was on her break.’
    • ‘After leaving the firm, I found out that people from my secretary to my CEO knew I was gay.’
    • ‘With that, he turned and walked out of his office, calling for his secretary to get her anything she needed, a drink or anything.’
    • ‘Already a bunch of freshmen had lined up at the secretary's desk.’
    • ‘Additional staff is needed to run rural branch surgeries, which restricts partners' ability to employ secretaries and administrators.’
    • ‘A former England player who roomed with him now has to call Hoddle's secretary to get an appointment to speak to him.’
    • ‘One guy a few years back asked me whether he should call back and make an appointment with my secretary to talk to me.’
    • ‘There is no office secretary to answer calls or take messages, no student assistants to run errands.’
    • ‘There is a story doing the rounds about a city lawyer who asked an office secretary to pay £4 towards his dry cleaning bill.’
    • ‘Despite being in his office, the editor, Martin Newland, requested his secretary to say he was ‘unavailable for comment’.’
    assistant, personal assistant, pa, administrator, clerk, clerical assistant, amanuensis, girl friday, man friday
    typist, shorthand typist, copyist, keyboarder, stenographer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An official of a society or other organization who conducts its correspondence and keeps its records.
      ‘she was secretary of the Women's Labour League’
      • ‘He was heavily involved in coaching and administration and was secretary to the national cycling association.’
      • ‘Well, he is the appointments secretary and administrator for all referees outside of the Football League.’
      • ‘The tuning of the City Hall organ is ongoing, and every night, the secretary of the Organ Society, David Smit, spends several hours tuning the instrument.’
      • ‘It was provided to the Foreign Office by the secretary to the World Jewish Council, who in turn had received it from a source in Berlin.’
      • ‘This is borne out by a letter of April 11, from the solicitors to the area secretary of the Law society.’
    2. 1.2The principal assistant of a UK government minister or ambassador.
      [as title] ‘Chief Secretary to the Treasury’
    3. 1.3An official in charge of a US government department.
      • ‘Taft, a former deputy defence secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was the man to do that.’
      • ‘The Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, has dismissed these allegations.’
      • ‘Wolfowitz is US deputy defence secretary and widely regarded as the chief intellectual architect of the Iraq war.’
      • ‘Michael Ancram, shadow foreign secretary, played down talk of a rift.’
      • ‘She immediately contacted the British secretary of war and volunteered her time and skills.’
      • ‘He was provincial general secretary of Leon for 11 years.’
      • ‘The Secretary of Commerce must consult with the Department of Justice before issuing such a certificate.’
      • ‘The education secretary at the time, Kenneth Baker, was more moderate.’
      • ‘In 1996, he became the sixth deputy assistant secretary of defense for Policy and Missions.’
      • ‘Reminded that was not what the shadow health secretary had said, Boris preferred to keep digging.’
      • ‘But in the meantime the education secretary announced £200m extra for university research.’
      • ‘Perle is a commentator on defense issues and a former US assistant secretary of defense.’
      • ‘In London, shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram said Buttiglione's withdrawal raised some disturbing issues.’
      • ‘As secretary of commerce, Hoover himself drafted much of the legislation.’
      • ‘Fillmore instructed his attorney general and the secretary of the Navy to arrest the king.’
      • ‘I also tried to contact the Permanent Secretary in Bisho without success.’
      • ‘The secretary of agriculture already has gathered input on issues for the next bill.’
      • ‘In 1992 former secretary to the office of Governor-General, Sir David Smith, wrote.’
      • ‘The British Home Secretary announced today that marijuana will be rescheduled as a Class C drug.’
      • ‘One priest was accredited as First Secretary at the Italian Embassy.’
      • ‘And Dr. Sue Bailey is a former assistant defense secretary for health affairs.’
      • ‘We need the president to go there and also tell the treasury secretary to certify that it's happening.’
      • ‘The 1986 legislation also specified the responsibilities of each service secretary to the defense secretary.’
      • ‘Returning from Europe in 1783, Jay served Congress as secretary for foreign affairs for the next six years.’
      • ‘Yet the new treasury secretary nominee turned out not to be much of an improvement.’
      • ‘But there's a new Army secretary in charge.’


Late Middle English (originally in the sense ‘person entrusted with a secret’): from late Latin secretarius confidential officer, from Latin secretum secret, neuter of secretus (see secret).