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adjective sec·ond \ˈse-kənd also -kənt, especially before a consonant -kən, -kəŋ\

Simple Definition of second

  • : occupying the number two position in a series

  • : next to the first in importance or rank

  • : another of the same kind

Full Definition of second

  1. 1a :  next to the first in place or time <was second in line>b (1) :  next to the first in value, excellence, or degree <his second choice of schools> (2) :  inferior, subordinate <was second to none>c :  ranking next below the top of a grade or degree in authority or precedence <second mate>d :  alternate, other <elects a mayor every second year>e :  resembling or suggesting a prototype :  another <a second Thoreau>f :  being the forward gear or speed next higher than first in a motor vehicle

  2. 2 :  relating to or having a part typically subordinate to and lower in pitch than the first part in concerted or ensemble music

second or sec·ond·ly adverb

Examples of second

  1. We sat in the second row.

  2. the second house on the left

  3. B is the second letter in the alphabet.

  4. That's the second time I've seen him today.

  5. Chocolate is my first choice; vanilla is my second choice.

  6. The chair needs a second coat of paint.

  7. She plays second violin in the city orchestra.

Origin of second

Middle English, from Anglo-French secund, from Latin secundus second, following, favorable, from sequi to follow — more at sue

First Known Use: 13th century

Other Number-Related Terms

Rhymes with second



noun sec·ond

Definition of second

  1. 1a — see number tableb :  one that is next after the first in rank, position, authority, or precedence <the second in line>

  2. 2 :  one that assists or supports another; especially :  the assistant of a duelist or boxer

  3. 3a :  the musical interval embracing two diatonic degreesb :  a tone at this interval; specifically :  supertonicc :  the harmonic combination of two tones a second apart

  4. 4a plural :  merchandise that is usually slightly flawed and does not meet the manufacturer's standard for firsts or irregularsb :  an article of such merchandise

  5. 5 :  the act or declaration by which a parliamentary motion is seconded

  6. 6 :  a place next below the first in a competition, examination, or contest

  7. 7 :  second base

  8. 8 :  the second forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle

  9. 9 plural :  a second helping of food

14th Century

First Known Use of second

14th century

Other Number-Related Terms



noun sec·ond

Definition of second

  1. 1a :  the 60th part of a minute of angular measureb :  the 60th part of a minute of time :  1/86,400 part of the mean solar day; specifically :  the base unit of time in the International System of Units that is equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom

  2. 2 :  an instant of time :  moment

Origin of second

Middle English secounde, from Medieval Latin secunda, from Latin, feminine of secundus second; from its being the second sexagesimal division of a unit, as a minute is the first

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms



transitive verb sec·ond

Simple Definition of second

  • : to approve (something, such as a motion) during a meeting so that discussion or voting can begin

  • : to agree with (a suggestion or statement)

  • : to move (someone) from a regular job to a different place, department, etc., for a short period of time

Full Definition of second

  1. 1a :  to give support or encouragement to :  assistb :  to support (a fighting person or group) in combat :  bring up reinforcements for

  2. 2a :  to support or assist in contention or debateb :  to endorse (a motion or a nomination) so that debate or voting may begin

  3. 3 \si-ˈkänd\ chiefly British :  to release (as a military officer) from a regularly assigned position for temporary duty with another unit or organization

sec·ond·er noun

Examples of second

  1. I would like to second the motion to adjourn.

  2. Let's call it a day. I'll second that.

Origin of second

Latin secundare, from secundus second, favorable

First Known Use: circa 1586

Seen and Heard

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February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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