1. next after the first; being the ordinal number for two.
  2. being the latter of two equal parts.
  3. next after the first in place, time, or value: the second house from the corner.
  4. next after the first in rank, grade, degree, status, or importance: the second person in the company.
  5. alternate: I have my hair cut every second week.
  6. inferior.
  7. Grammar. noting or pertaining to the second person.
  8. Music. being the lower of two parts for the same instrument or voice: second horn; second alto.
  9. other or another: a second Solomon.
  10. Automotive. of, relating to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which drive shaft speed is greater than that of low gear but not so great as that of other gears for a given engine crankshaft speed: second gear.


  1. a second part.
  2. the second member of a series.
  3. a person who aids or supports another; assistant; backer.
  4. Boxing. a person who, between rounds of a prizefight, gives aid, advice, etc., to a boxer.
  5. a person who serves as a representative or attendant of a duelist.
  6. Automotive. second gear.
  7. a person or thing that is next after the first in place, time, or value.
  8. a person or thing that is next after the first in rank, grade, degree, status, or importance.
  9. Usually seconds. an additional helping of food: He had seconds on the meat and potatoes.
  10. (in parliamentary procedure)
    1. a person who expresses formal support of a motion so that it may be discussed or put to a vote.
    2. an act or instance of doing this.
  11. (in certain British universities) a type or grade of college degree granted according to a student’s performance on specific written and oral examinations.
  12. Music.
    1. a tone on the next degree from a given tone.
    2. the interval between such tones.
    3. the harmonic combination of such tones.
    4. the lower of two parts in a piece of concerted music.
    5. a voice or instrument performing such a part.
    6. an alto.
  13. Usually seconds. Commerce. goods below the first or highest quality, especially containing visible flaws.Compare first(def 17), third(def 12).
  14. Metallurgy. a piece of somewhat defective but salable tin plate.
  15. Baseball. second base.

verb (used with object)

  1. to assist or support.
  2. to further or advance, as aims.
  3. (in parliamentary procedure) to express formal support of (a motion, proposal, etc.), as a necessary preliminary to further discussion or to voting.
  4. to act as second to (a boxer, duelist, etc.).


  1. in the second place, group, etc.; secondly: The catcher is batting second.


  1. the sixtieth part of a minute of time.
  2. a moment or instant: It takes only a second to phone.
  3. the basic unit of time in the International System of Units(SI), equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation in a transition, or energy level change, of the cesium atom. Symbol: s, S; Abbreviation: sec
  4. Geometry, Astronomy. the sixtieth part of a minute of angular measure, often represented by the sign ″, as in 30″, which is read as 30 seconds.Compare angle1(def 1c).

verb (used with object)

  1. British. to transfer (an officer, official, or the like) temporarily to another post.

adjective (usually prenominal)

    1. coming directly after the first in numbering or counting order, position, time, etc; being the ordinal number of two: often written 2nd
    2. (as noun)the second in line
  1. rated, graded, or ranked between the first and third levels
  2. alternateevery second Thursday
  3. additional; extraa second opportunity
  4. resembling a person or event from an earlier period of history; unoriginala second Wagner
  5. of lower quality; inferiorbelonging to the second class
  6. denoting the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
  7. music
    1. relating to or denoting a musical part, voice, or instrument lower in pitch than another part, voice, or instrument (the first)the second tenors
    2. of or relating to a part, instrument, or instrumentalist regarded as subordinate to another (the first)the second flute
  8. at second hand by hearsay


  1. British education an honours degree of the second class, usually further divided into an upper and lower designationFull term: second-class honours degree
  2. the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehiclehe changed into second on the bend
  3. (in boxing, duelling, etc) an attendant who looks after a competitor
  4. a speech seconding a motion or the person making it
  5. music
    1. the interval between one note and another lying next above or below it in the diatonic scale
    2. one of two notes constituting such an interval in relation to the otherSee also minor (def. 4), major (def. 14), interval (def. 5)
  6. (plural) goods of inferior quality
  7. (plural) informal a second helping of food
  8. (plural) the second course of a meal

verb (tr)

  1. to give aid or backing to
  2. (in boxing, etc) to act as second to (a competitor)
  3. to make a speech or otherwise express formal support for (a motion already proposed)


  1. Also: secondly in the second place

sentence connector

  1. Also: secondly as the second point: linking what follows with the previous statement


    1. 1/60 of a minute of time
    2. the basic SI unit of time: the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of caesium-133Symbol: s
  1. 1/60 of a minute of angleSymbol:
  2. a very short period of time; moment

verb (tr) British

  1. to transfer (an employee) temporarily to another branch, etc
  2. military to transfer (an officer) to another post, often retiring him to a staff or nonregimental position

adj.“next after first,” c.1300, from Old French second, secont, and directly from Latin secundus “following, next in time or order,” also “secondary, subordinate, inferior,” from root of sequi “follow” (see sequel). Replaced native other in this sense because of the ambiguousness of the earlier word. Second sight is from 1610s; an etymologically perverse term, because it means in reality the sight of events before, not after, they occur. Second fiddle first attested 1809: A metaphor borrowed from a musical performer who plays the second or counter to one who plays the first or the “air.” [Bartlett, “Dictionary of Americanisms,” 1848] n.“one-sixtieth of a minute of degree,” also “sixtieth part of a minute of time,” late 14c. in geometry, from Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta “second diminished part,” the result of the second division of the hour by sixty (the first being the “prime minute,” now called the minute), from Latin secunda, fem. of secundus (see second (adj.)). The second hand of a clock is attested from 1759. v.1580s, “to support or represent in a duel, fight, etc.,” from Middle French seconder, from Latin secundare “to assist, make favorable,” from secundus “assisting, favorable, following, second” (see second (adj.)). The noun in this sense is first recorded 1580s. The verb in the parliamentary sense is first recorded 1590s. Related: Seconded; seconding. adj.

  1. Coming next after the first in order, place, rank, time, or quality.
  2. Being the next closest to the innermost digit, especially on the foot.

  1. A unit of time equal to 160 of a minute.♦ A sidereal second is 160 of a sidereal minute, and a mean solar second is 160 of a mean solar minute. See more at sidereal time solar time.
  2. A unit of angular measurement, such as longitude or right ascension, equal to 160 of a minute of arc.

In addition to the idioms beginning with second

  • second banana
  • second best
  • second childhood
  • second class
  • second cousin
  • second fiddle
  • second hand
  • second nature
  • second sight
  • second thoughts
  • second to none
  • second wind
  • also see:

  • at second hand
  • come off (second best)
  • in a flash (second)
  • in the first (second) place
  • on second thought
  • play second fiddle
  • split second
  • top (second) banana
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