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sec·​ond-class ˈse-kən(d)-ˈklas How to pronounce second-class (audio)
: of or relating to a second class
: mediocre
also : socially, politically, or economically deprived

second class

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: the second and usually next to highest group in a classification
: a class of U.S. or Canadian mail comprising periodicals sent to regular subscribers

Example Sentences

Noun The airline offers special services for travelers in first and second class. She got an upper second class in English at Oxford.
Recent Examples on the Web
His first recruiting class improved after Miami hired him, and his second class is ranked in the nation’s top 10. Adam Lichtenstein, Sun Sentinel, 2 Sep. 2022 Earlier this summer the museum inducted its second class into its hall of fame, and work continues on its permanent location, a building on Cass Street in downtown Joliet built in 1930. Jeff Banowetz, Chicago Tribune, 1 Sep. 2022 Last month saw the graduation of its second class of 25 students, selected from hundreds of applicants from around the world. Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2022 This is essentially a racial issue where the great replacement is about the fear that whites will become second class citizens and subordinate in the United States. CBS News, 19 Oct. 2022 Westfield is currently a third class city, and the only one in Hamilton County without second class status. Brittany Carloni, The Indianapolis Star, 19 May 2022 Otherwise, food will be a second class citizen at the FDA. Matthew Perrone, Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2022 Councilman Scott Willis was the lone vote in favor of moving Westfield to a second class city. Brittany Carloni, The Indianapolis Star, 28 June 2022 Aaron began his military training in the vessel's engine room and eventually received the rank of fireman second class. Arkansas Online, 6 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'second-class.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of second-class was in 1810

Dictionary Entries Near second-class

second childhood


second class

Cite this Entry

“Second-class.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: of or relating to a class next below the first or highest class
: deprived of wealth or social rank
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