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[si-kree-shuh n] /sɪˈkri ʃən/
(in a cell or gland) the act or process of separating, elaborating, and releasing a substance that fulfills some function within the organism or undergoes excretion.
the product of this act or process.
1640-50; < Latin sēcrētiōn- (stem of sēcrētiō), equivalent to sēcrēt(us) (past participle of sēcernere to secern) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
[si-kree-shuh-ner-ee] /sɪˈkri ʃəˌnɛr i/ (Show IPA),
nonsecretion, noun
nonsecretionary, adjective
oversecretion, noun
supersecretion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for secretions
  • They cover their long tails with smelly secretions and wave them in the air to determine which animal is more powerful.
  • He considered how thoughts and emotions were simply secretions of the brain.
  • Sometimes the tubes become blocked from sticky secretions or clotted blood after the operation.
  • Treatment is aimed at controlling infections and bronchial secretions, relieving airway obstruction, and preventing complications.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.
  • Bronchoscopy is an invasive test to examine respiratory secretions.
  • Our group is interested in pituitary hormone secretions and their regulation by the circadian system.
  • In the article, emphasis has been given to the discovery of novel antibiotics from organisms yet unexplored for their secretions.
  • The chloride defect thickens secretions throughout the body, turning them dry and gluey.
  • Kidney secretions of renin synthesize a substance called angiotensin.
British Dictionary definitions for secretions


a substance that is released from a cell, esp a glandular cell, and is synthesized in the cell
the process involved in producing and releasing such a substance from the cell
Derived Forms
secretionary, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin sēcrētiō, from Latin: a separation; see secern
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for secretions



1640s, "act of secreting;" 1732, "that which is secreted," from French sécrétion, from Latin secretionem (nominative secretio) "a dividing, separation," noun of action from past participle stem of secernere "to separate, set apart" (see secret (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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secretions in Medicine

secretion se·cre·tion (sĭ-krē'shən)

  1. The process of secreting a substance from a cell or gland.

  2. A substance, such as saliva, mucus, tears, bile, or a hormone, that is secreted.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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secretions in Science
  1. The process of secreting a substance from a cell or gland.

  2. A substance, such as saliva, mucus, tears, bile, or a hormone, that is secreted.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for secretions


in biology, production and release of a useful substance by a gland or cell; also, the substance produced. In addition to the enzymes and hormones that facilitate and regulate complex biochemical processes, body tissues also secrete a variety of substances that provide lubrication and moisture. Within an individual cell the Golgi apparatus and its associated secretory granules are thought to be the structures responsible for the production and release of secretory substances.

Learn more about secretion with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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