administrative assistant - secretary


Senior Member
Dear all,

She is my administrative assistant at my office.
He is my secretary at my office.

I made up the sentences.
Do you hear the term "administrative assistant" sometimes?
Is it safe to say that it's pretty much the same as "secretary"?

Thank you in advance.
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi wanabee,

    I'm not sure if this is universal, but "secretary" is often considered to have a dated, even sexist sound: the common term in, say, the 1950s when all secretaries were underpaid women who did the typing and filing and served their (male) bosses coffee. "Administrative assistant" is the updated version, and less likely to offend anyone.

    On the other hand, if the "secretary" is NOT an admin. assistant, the word is perfectly acceptable: you can be the secretary-treasurer of a professional association, the Secretary of State, etc.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Sometimes, now, it's not "administrative assistant" but just assistant. Not long ago, when I said to a lawyer, "I left a message with your secretary", he corrected me: "My assistant."
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