Secretary Sec"re*ta*ry, n.; pl. {Secretaries}. [F. secr['e]taire (cf. Pr. secretari, Sp. & Pg. secretario, It. secretario, segretario) LL. secretarius, originally, a confidant, one intrusted with secrets, from L. secretum a secret. See {Secret}, a. & n.] 1. One who keeps, or is intrusted with, secrets. [R.] [1913 Webster]

2. A person employed to write orders, letters, dispatches, public or private papers, records, and the like; an official scribe, amanuensis, or writer; one who attends to correspondence, and transacts other business, for an association, a public body, or an individual. [1913 Webster]

That which is most of all profitable is acquaintance with the secretaries, and employed men of ambassadors. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

3. An officer of state whose business is to superintend and manage the affairs of a particular department of government, and who is usually a member of the cabinet or advisory council of the chief executive; as, the secretary of state, who conducts the correspondence and attends to the relations of a government with foreign courts; the secretary of the treasury, who manages the department of finance; the secretary of war, etc. [1913 Webster]

4. A piece of furniture, with conveniences for writing and for the arrangement of papers; an escritoire. [1913 Webster]

5. (Zo["o]l.) The secretary bird. [1913 Webster]

{Secretary bird}. [So called in allusion to the tufts of feathers at the back of its head, which were fancifully thought to resemble pens stuck behind the ear.] (Zo["o]l.) A large long-legged raptorial bird ({Gypogeranus serpentarius}), native of South Africa, but now naturalized in the West Indies and some other tropical countries. It has a powerful hooked beak, a crest of long feathers, and a long tail. It feeds upon reptiles of various kinds, and is much prized on account of its habit of killing and devouring snakes of all kinds. Called also {serpent eater}. [1913 Webster]

Syn: See the Note under {Clerk}, n., 4. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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