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From Biology-Online Dictionary
1. (Science: geometry) A line that cuts another; especially, a straight line cutting a curve in two or more points.
2. (Science: mathematics) A right line drawn from the center of a circle through one end of a circular arc, and terminated by a tangent drawn from the other end; the number expressing the ratio line of this line to the radius of the circle. See Trigonometrical function, under Function.
Origin: Cf. F. Secante. See Secant.