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Secretariate vs. Secretariat — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on August 21, 2023
Secretariate refers to a permanent administrative office, especially governmental, and its staff, while secretariat generally signifies the staff of an administrative office or department.
Secretariate vs. Secretariat — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Secretariate and Secretariat


Key Differences

Secretariate is a term that specifically refers to an enduring administrative office or department, especially those that are governmental. On the other hand, secretariat usually connotes the group of individuals or the staff working within an administrative setup. It can be associated with various organizations, including legislative bodies, executive councils, and international bodies.
The term "secretariat" typically does not emphasize the permanence or specific governmental affiliation the way "secretariate" does. Instead, it highlights the collective staff responsible for the secretarial, clerical, and administrative functions.
In many contexts, secretariate and secretariat might be used interchangeably, as they are closely related in meaning. However, a subtle distinction can be discerned based on their specific connotations. While secretariate often underlines the permanent and official nature of an office, secretariat sheds light on the personnel working there.
The nuances between the two terms might not be universally recognized. In some regions or contexts, secretariate could be seen as a variant of secretariat. Nevertheless, understanding the nuances between them can be valuable, especially in formal or governmental settings.

Comparison Chart


Permanent administrative office or department.
Staff of an administrative office or department.


On the office and its permanence.
On the personnel and their functions.


Primarily governmental settings.
Various organizations, including international.


Stability, continuity, and governance.
Secretarial, clerical, and administrative duties.


Specifically governmental in many contexts.
Can be governmental or non-governmental.

Compare with Definitions


The staff working in a specific office or administrative department.
The secretariate was recognized for their exemplary public service.


The staff of an organization handling administrative duties.
The UN secretariat plays a crucial role in global diplomatic affairs.


A permanent administrative department, especially governmental.
The finance secretariate oversees the country's budget and fiscal policies.


A group responsible for the clerical functions of an entity.
The secretariat managed the paperwork efficiently for the conference.


An office responsible for the secretarial and administrative tasks of an organization.
The legislative secretariate ensures smooth proceedings of the assembly sessions.


The office or position of a governmental secretary.


A collection of secretaries forming an official board or body.
The secretariate convened to discuss the new policy measures.


Personnel assisting in the execution of secretarial tasks.
The event's secretariat ensured all schedules were maintained.


A designated body or office dealing with specific responsibilities.
The tourism secretariate promotes travel and tourism in the state.


An entity responsible for the administration of an international body.
The treaty was drafted with assistance from the secretariat.


Alternative spelling of secretariat


The office or department managing organizational affairs.
The secretariat proposed the new guidelines for member nations.


An administrative unit responsible for maintaining records and other secretarial duties; especially for international organizations


The department administered by a governmental secretary, especially for an international organization.


The office occupied by such a department.


An administrative unit responsible for maintaining records and other secretarial duties; especially for international organizations


Thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1973


The office or department of a government secretary.


(Roman Catholicism) A kind of dicastery within the Roman Curia.


The office of a secretary; the place where a secretary transacts business, keeps records, etc.

Common Curiosities

Is secretariate used more in governmental contexts?

Yes, secretariate often connotes a permanent governmental office or department.

What is a secretariate?

A secretariate refers to a permanent administrative department, often governmental, along with its staff, handling specific responsibilities.

What does secretariat mean?

Secretariat generally denotes the staff of an administrative office or department responsible for secretarial and clerical functions.

Are secretariate and secretariat synonymous?

While closely related in meaning, secretariate emphasizes the office's permanence, while secretariat focuses on the staff and their duties.

Can secretariat refer to non-governmental entities?

Yes, secretariat can refer to the staff of both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Which term emphasizes the staff over the office?

Secretariat emphasizes the staff, while secretariate underscores the office or department.

Are the terms region-specific in usage?

Usage might vary based on region, with some areas considering secretariate as a variant of secretariat.

Can both terms be used interchangeably?

In many contexts, they can be, but understanding their subtle distinctions is valuable in formal settings.

Is the use of secretariate common in international settings?

While it can be used, secretariat is more commonly associated with international organizations, like the United Nations.

Which term is older in origin?

Both have historical roots, but secretariat is more widely recognized and has broader applications in the English language.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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