Excrete vs secrete

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Excrete means to process and eject waste through biological function. Related words are excretes, excreted, excreting, excreter, excretive, excretion, excretory. Excrete comes from the Latin word excretus, which is the past participle of excernere, meaning to sift out, separate.

Secrete means (1) to synthesize and release a substance, the movement of this material from place to place  (2) to conceal in a hiding place. Related words are secretes, secreted, secreting, secreter, secretive, secretion, secretory. Secrete is a 1707 back-formation from secretion, from the Latin secretionem, meaning a dividing, separation.


Humans can break down and excrete methylxanthines much more efficiently than dogs. (The Modesto Bee)

In doing so, they would excrete chemical compounds, dramatically increasing the levels of methane and ethane in the atmosphere. (The National Geographic Magazine)

The condition, in which the kidneys can’t excrete potassium, can lead to heart arrhythmias. (The San Francisco Business Times)

Basophils, a type of white blood cell, excrete histamines and other inflammatory chemicals in reaction to a perceived threat—such as an allergen. (Scientific American)

In this study, the group reprogrammed HDDCs to behave like beta cells and secrete insulin within the pancreas in response to glucose. (The Pakistan Observer)

Some scientists believe that during sleep, we secrete higher levels of cortisol – the hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that protects the immune system than during the day. (The Nation)

“The offenders range from international banks to small-town mortgage lenders, which together helped secrete more than 10,000 U.S-related accounts holding more than $10 billion,” according to the Journal’s analysis of more than 40 settlement documents. (Fortune Magazine)

Lesinurad, which is used in combination with an older gout drug febuxostat, decreases the production of uric acid and increases its excretion. (Reuters)

Chao said as the weather gets colder, sebaceous gland secretion decrease by about 10 percent with every 1°C drop in temperature, and PM2.5 can further dry the skin. (The Taipei Times)