Definition of secretary of state in US English:

secretary of state


  • 1(in the US) the head of the State Department, responsible for foreign affairs.

    • ‘That includes his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who has been presented as a restraining influence on Bush.’
    • ‘Most recently, he was the Deputy Secretary of State in 1993 under President Clinton.’
    • ‘Official results will be announced as soon as the Secretary of State provides a final list.’
    • ‘Then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright visited Pyongyang in response to Cho's trip to Washington.’
    • ‘Henry Kissinger ran foreign policy under President Nixon, not Secretary of State Rogers.’
  • 2(in the UK) the head of a major government department.

    • ‘It is the Secretary of State's policy that the power to sanction should not be exercised too widely.’
    • ‘Copies are also being sent to Bexley Council and the Secretary of State for Transport.’
    • ‘The Claimant in this claim for judicial review is the Secretary of State for the Home Department.’
    • ‘He wants the county council to call on the Secretary of State for Health, John Reid, to inject more cash into NHS services in Surrey.’
    • ‘He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security in May 1997.’
  • 3(in Canada) a government minister responsible for a specific area within a department.

    • ‘That position has been verified by statements in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark.’
    member of the government, political leader, cabinet minister, secretary, undersecretary, department head, privy counsellor, politician
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secretary of state