1. Second or lower in rank or importance; not primary: concerns that are secondary.
a. Following what is first in time or sequence: secondary fermentation.
b. Of or relating to secondary schools.
a. Derived from what is primary or original: literary criticism viewed as secondary to literature itself.
b. Not immediate or direct: a secondary source of information.
4. Of, relating to, or being the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of a bird's wing.
5. Electricity Having an induced current that is generated by an inductively coupled primary. Used of a circuit or coil.
a. Relating to, or having a carbon atom that is attached to two other carbon atoms in a molecule.
b. Relating to the replacement of two of several atoms or groups in a compound, such as an amine in which two valences of the functional group are taken by carbon atoms.
7. Geology Produced from another mineral by decay or alteration.
8. Of or relating to a secondary color or colors.
9. Being a degree of health care intermediate between primary care and tertiary care, as that typically offered at a community hospital.
10. Botany Of, relating to, or derived from a lateral meristem, especially a cambium.
n. pl. sec·ond·ar·ies
1. One that acts in an auxiliary, subordinate, or inferior capacity.
2. One of the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of a bird's wing.
3. Electricity A coil or circuit having an induced current.
a. Astronomy A celestial body that orbits another; a satellite.
b. The dimmer star of a binary star.
5. A secondary color.
6. Football The defensive backfield.
sec′ond·ari·ly (-dârə-lē) adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.