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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 secretion
  • Many permanent or temporary conditions can reduce thyroid hormone secretion and cause hypothyroidism.
  • The relationship of calcium, arginine, and glucose to gastric inhibitory polypeptide augmentation of insulin secretion.
  • It is thought that they use their strong-smelling musk secretion to mark out territories.
  • Rhythmic secretion of melatonin then synchronizes other body functions to the day-night cycles in the environment.
  • Melatonin secretion normally increases in winter and peaks around midnight.
  • Inflammation or excess mucus secretion can further decrease the amount of air flow.
  • Basal acid secretion in the stomach peaks in the early hours of sleep, possibly aimed to thwart nocturnal invaders.
  • The researchers detected a spike in the calcium levels inside the cells, which is the first step in histamine secretion.
  • Geckos don't use suction, or friction or some kind of gluelike secretion.
  • Rapid reaction suggests that protein might be abundantly present and the secretion by exocytosis might be important.
British Dictionary definitions for secretion


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 secretion

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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secretion 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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secretion 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 secretion

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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