sec·​ond-string ˌse-kən(d)-ˈstriŋ How to pronounce second-string (audio)
: being a substitute as distinguished from a regular (as on a ball team)

Examples of second-string in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Since Ford’s injury, Felton has been getting some of the second-string reps, and has led the Browns in rushing yards during the preseason. Irie Harris, cleveland, 22 Aug. 2023 The Ravens are already using two second-string cornerbacks as starters after losing Marlon Humphrey for about a month because of foot surgery. Mike Preston, Baltimore Sun, 19 Aug. 2023 Heading into his fourth season, Huntley is competing for the second-string quarterback role behind former MVP Lamar Jackson. Austin Curtright, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Aug. 2023 Trevor Siemian is the Bengals' second-string quarterback. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 28 July 2023 Born in Nome in 1919, Balto was considered by his owner, Leonhard Seppala, to be a second-string sled dog. Mark Johnson and Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Apr. 2023 However, second-string quarterback Jacurri Brown, who made his debut as a true freshman last year, struggled during the spring game. Adam Lichtenstein, Sun Sentinel, 15 Apr. 2023 The team still won a California Interscholastic Federation championship with its center as a second-string quarterback, partially due to Buchner offering his perspective from the coach’s press box above the stands. Nick Alvarez |, al, 26 Jan. 2023 Uiagalelei, the Clemson transfer who is battling junior Ben Gulbranson for the starting quarterback job, was workmanlike competing against the Beavers’ first and second-string defense. Ndaschel, oregonlive, 26 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'second-string.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the reserve bowstring carried by an archer in case the first breaks

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of second-string was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near second-string

Cite this Entry

“Second-string.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: being a substitute player as distinguished from a regular

from the reserve bowstring carried by an archer in case the first breaks

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!