To: Prof. Ellis

From: Anthony Cuomo

Date: 10/27/2021

Subject: Expanded Term Definition of Secure


The purpose of this document is to teach the reader the differences between the different definitions of the word secure. A brief example of two different definitions will be shared, along with the history, etymology and some quotes from articles that I feel encapsulates the definitions best.


“Who hath oftner waged warres then he? Escapes secure him not: he owes the price [1].” This quote from “The misfortunes of Arthur” by playwright Thomas Hughes in 1587 was the first known usage of the term secure. From reading the sentence and using context clues, we can infer that the definition of secure in 1587 was the same definition used in modern language. To secure most commonly means to keep safe from danger or harm. This is not the only definition of secure that has been seen throughout the years though. Like a lot of words in the English language, secure has multiple meanings depending on the context that the word is being used. 


The word secure is derived from the Latin word “securare”, which means to keep safe from harm [1]. This will probably be the first definition you will see when searching for the word secure in today’s day and age. To keep safe from danger or harm. As in to secure personal information or even to secure a space for a person to access safely. When speaking of securing something, JD Stahl had this to say about Elizabeth Enright’s writing style “She is not naive about the terrors and sufferings of children; she merely chooses to place the joyful and secure features of children’s lives in the foreground [2].” Elizabeth Enright, according to Stahl, uses a writing style which places the positive or “Secure” aspects of their lives into the forefront of the setting. A good way to think about the term secure is that it is not always used as a verb, but you can use it as an adjective to describe something. 

The English language is interesting in the way that a single word could have more than 1 meaning. Another popular definition you could see for the word secure is to make sure something is obtained. Here is a quote from a New York Times article by Julia Preston and Fernanda Santos about how Latinos gained influence in a national election. “Latinos turned out in record numbers on Tuesday and voted for President Obama by broad margins, tipping the balance in at least three swing states and securing their position as an organized force in American politics with the power to move national elections [3].” As we can see with this quote, the authors are not talking about how something is safe or out of harm’s way but instead uses secure as a way to show how Latinos were able to obtain something. In the cast that Julia Preston and Fernanda Santos showed, the thing that was obtained was political influence and power.

Working Definition

The term secure has a lot of uses when it comes to computer security. Anything that is done on a computer on a public domain is going to have some sort of security protecting it. Programmers and cyber security experts use the term secure all the time. One that is seen and heard often is to make sure your network is secure. This means that you should make sure that the network that you are working on is safe from harm from potential cyber-attacks or breaches. Cyber security can also use the other definition of secure that has been described, which is to make sure something is obtained. For example, securing a connection to a VPN. The thing being secured, or obtained, here is the connection from the user to the VPN servers. A VPN is a tool that is used to hide your IP address and is used to encrypt any type of data that would be sent via the internet [4].


[1] “secure, v.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2021, Accessed 16 October 2021

[2] Stahl, J.D. “A secure world of childhood: the artistry of Elizabeth Enright.” Hollins Critic, vol. 35, no. 2, Apr. 1998, pp. 1+. Gale Literature Resource Center, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021. 

[3] J. Preston and F. Santos, “A record Latino turnout, solidly backing obama,” The New York Times, 08-Nov-2012. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16-Oct-2021].  

[4] “What is a VPN? virtual private network benefits,” NordVPN, 10-Nov-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 11-Nov-2021].

[5] “Secure,” Merriam-Webster. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16-Oct-2021].  

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