1. [syn: secretary bird, Sagittarius serpentarius]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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.]
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.
That which is most of all profitable is acquaintance
with the secretaries, and employed men of
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.
4. A piece of furniture, with conveniences for writing and
for the arrangement of papers; an escritoire.
5. (Zool.) The secretary bird.
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.] (Zool.) 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
Syn: See the Note under Clerk, n., 4.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: large long-legged African bird of prey that feeds on
reptiles [syn: secretary bird, Sagittarius