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It can be used to approximate the tangent to a curve, at some point P. If the secant to a curve is defined by two points, P and Q, with P fixed and Q variable, as Q approaches P along the curve, the direction of the secant approaches that of the tangent at P, (assuming that the first-derivative of the curve is continuous at point P so that there is only one tangent). As a consequence, one could say that the limit as Q approaches P of the secant's slope, or direction, is that of the tangent. In calculus, this idea is the basis of the geometric definition of the derivative. A chord is the portion of a secant that lies within the curve.
A secant line on a map is a line where the projection is without distortion.
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