secant


secant

noun

  1. Geometry. an intersecting line, especially one intersecting a curve at two or more points.
  2. Trigonometry.
    1. (in a right triangle) the ratio of the hypotenuse to the side adjacent to a given angle.
    2. (originally) a line from the center of a circle through one extremity of an arc to the tangent from the other extremity.
    3. the ratio of the length of this line to that of the radius of the circle; the reciprocal of the cosine of a given angle or arc. Abbreviation: sec

adjective

  1. cutting or intersecting, as one line or surface in relation to another.

noun

  1. (of an angle) a trigonometric function that in a right-angled triangle is the ratio of the length of the hypotenuse to that of the adjacent side; the reciprocal of cosineAbbreviation: sec
  2. a line that intersects a curve

n.1590s, from Latin secantem (nominative secans) “a cutting,” present participle of secare “to cut” (see section (n.)). First used by Danish mathematician Thomas Fincke in “Geometria Rotundi” (1583).

  1. A straight line or ray that intersects a curve, especially a circle, at two or more points.
  2. The ratio of the length of the hypotenuse in a right triangle to the side adjacent to an acute angle. The secant is the inverse of the cosine.
  3. The reciprocal of the abscissa of the endpoint of an arc of a unit circle centered at the origin of a Cartesian coordinate system, the arc being of length x and measured counterclockwise from the point (1, 0) if x is positive or clockwise if x is negative.
  4. A function of a number x, equal to the secant of an angle whose measure in radians is equal to x.

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