sec·ond-class | \ ˈse-kən(d)-ˈklas , -kᵊŋ- \

Definition of second-class 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to a second class

2 : mediocre also : socially, politically, or economically deprived

second class


Definition of second class (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the second and usually next to highest group in a classification

3 : a class of U.S. or Canadian mail comprising periodicals sent to regular subscribers

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Synonyms & Antonyms for second-class

Synonyms: Adjective

inferior, mean, minor, second-rate, secondary

Antonyms: Adjective

greater, higher, superior

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Examples of second-class in a Sentence


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: Noun

More: Male High School's Ciaja Harbison wins Donna L.J. Murphy Award This is the second class to enter the Hall of Fame, and Carraro will be the first player inducted. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Manual High School's Kidder wins girls singles state bowling championship," 8 Feb. 2018 The Pieper twins, both radiomen second class, are the 45th pair of brothers at the cemetery, three of them memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the cemetery. Mark D. Carlson And Virginia Mayo,, "Twin brothers reunited 74 years after WWII death at Normandy," 20 June 2018 Coginchaug lost three key seniors to injuries before the season started but still managed to win its second Class S title, 71-42, over SMSA. Lori Riley,, "The 2017-18 All-Courant High School Girls Basketball Team," 1 May 2018 And the second class of citizen are people who are law-abiding taxpayers, they're treated differently than almost everyone else. Fox News, "Lewandowski on Michael Cohen's role with Trump organization," 17 Apr. 2018 Because of Title IX, all student athletes are to be treated the same, and yet some of the most athletic, and visible members of an entire athletic department are often relegated to second class status. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "No one gets the short end in college athletics more than a cheerleader," 8 June 2018 The misery is all too present in how they are viewed as second class citizens, denied access to jobs and routinely treated with suspicion by police and neighbors alike. Dawn Dimowo, CNN, "Opinion: Immigrants must perform extraordinary feats to gain acceptance," 30 May 2018 In 2008, Ryan oversaw the doubling of the student body to about 430 by adding a second class for every grade level. Daniel Langhorne,, "Principal and vice principal at Our Lady Queen of Angels will retire next month," 17 May 2018 This second class of startups were selected from more than 100 applicants from around the world. William Thornton,, "Velocity Accelerator's Demo Day offers the inside pitch," 23 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of second-class


circa 1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to second-class

second-class citizen

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Time Traveler for second-class

The first known use of second-class was in 1810

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More Definitions for second-class



English Language Learners Definition of second-class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to second class

: not given the same rights or treatment as the rest of the people in a society

: not of the best quality

second class


English Language Learners Definition of second class (Entry 2 of 2)

: a level of service on a train, ship, etc., that is just below first class

: a class of mail in the U.S. that includes newspapers, magazines, etc.

: a class of mail in the UK that costs less and takes longer to arrive than first class

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More from Merriam-Webster on second-class

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for second-class

Spanish Central: Translation of second-class

Comments on second-class

What made you want to look up second-class? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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