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A secretary is generally a person who performs certain routine, menial, or detail tasks for a superior. It is commonly used to describe (usually female) assistants in corporate office settings, who perform duties such as typing, computer processing, time management, and schedule planning for an executive. Secretaries are often very hard-working, important members of any large business. A secretary usually works at a desk within an office.

In 1952 American businessman Harry F. Klemfuss created a special Secretary's Day holiday in his company, to recognize the hard work of the women in his office. The holiday caught on, and is now celebrated in offices all over the world.

Some office secretaries object to the title of "secretary" saying it sounds demeaning or unimportant. Thus, in recent years the title of Administrative Professional or Administrative Assistant is sometimes substituted.

In some countries, a secretary is also the leader of a department of government, and performs duties equal to that of a minister of a ministry, for example The Secretary of Defense.

The term secretary is also used to describe a specific type of desk with an hinged working surface, such as a Secretary desk, a Fall front desk or a Bargueno desk.