Han, 2021, said that

For example, the model suggests that a shift in the social acceptability of talking about one’s successes,or of discussing personal investments more generally, can have large effects on risk taking and active investing. This suggests a possible explanation for both secular and higher-frequency shifts in investor behavior.

I am wondering what does "secular" mean in this context. I did a search from Cambridge dictionary and it says that it is like "non-religious". However, I still cannot fit this meaning to this specific context.


4 Answers 4


In finance, secular is an adjective used about market activities that occur over the long term. Secular trends are not seasonal or cyclical; they remain consistent over time. They are believed likely to continue moving in the same general direction for the foreseeable future. Technology and e-commerce stocks such as Netflix and Amazon are described as secular stocks. A secular movement can be neutral (flat), positive, or negative in its direction.

Secular (Merriam-Webster)

Secular (Investopedia)

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    The word has a similar meaning in Astronomy, as well.
    – Peter
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 13:07

This is using a less-common definition of secular, which is listed as definition 3(c) in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

of or relating to a long term of indefinite duration

This meaning of the word survives in economics and several other contexts. In everyday English, it more often means, non-religious. (The original meaning of the word, “true for an era or period of time,” shifted to mean that something pertains to the world we live in today, not the afterlife or spiritual world that is to follow.)


It can be used as "Long Term" in some contexts regarding Economic/Trade

  • 9
    I believe this is correct. But giving a few examples, and quoting (not just linking to) a source such as a dictionary, would make this a better answer. Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 20:43
  • 1
    Welcome to ELL! Thanks for taking the time to answer this question! (Especially because there were no other answers here when you did so) Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 0:07

I believe that the root is from the latin word for "century". In Spanish, century is "siglo", and "secular" means "lasting for centuries". It may not be 100% what the economists mean, but it goes in the same direction.

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    This is correct. The Latin word is saeculum. The change of ae to e in English is regular and observable in many other words. The Latin phrase in saecula saeculorum is usually translated "for ever and ever". Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 16:05
  • It’s not etymologically related to the word for hundred, and seems to come from a root that means a human lifetime, but the ancient Romans thought of it as a loosely-defined period of time around 90–120 years long.
    – Davislor
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 3:45
  • I can easily believe that siglo comes from saeculum, as French siècle does.
    – Davislor
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 3:49
  • But an analogy might be: the oldest people living remember the First World War, a little more than a century ago, so we might call that the beginning of the age we are living in now, preceded by the age that began in the Napoleonic Wars, a little more than a century before the First World War. Some Roman historians divided their history up to their own time into eras like those.
    – Davislor
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 3:56

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