sec·​ond·​hand | \ˈse-kən(d)-ˈhand \

Definition of secondhand 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : received from or through an intermediary : borrowed

b : derivative secondhand ideas

2a : acquired after being used by another : not new secondhand books

b : dealing in secondhand merchandise a secondhand bookstore



Definition of secondhand (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : at second hand : indirectly heard about it secondhand

2 : as a secondhand item bought the couch secondhand

second hand

noun (1)
\ˌse-kən(d)-ˈhand \

Definition of second hand (Entry 3 of 4)

: an intermediate person or means : intermediary usually used in the phrase at second hand

second hand

noun (2)
\ˈsek-ən(d)-ˌhand \

Definition of second hand (Entry 4 of 4)

: the hand marking seconds on a timepiece

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Synonyms & Antonyms for secondhand

Synonyms: Adjective

derivative, secondary

Antonyms: Adjective

basic, original

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Examples of secondhand in a Sentence


a dealer in secondhand furniture He's always haunting the secondhand shops for bargains.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Pieces are collected over time and are usually vintage, secondhand, or bought from local artisans. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Bohemian Design," 19 Oct. 2018 The company also has a website and mobile app that lets Chinese home buyers and renters search listings of new and secondhand properties. Liza Lin, WSJ, "Tencent Bets $1 Billion on China Housing Boom With Stake in Property Brokerage," 5 Sep. 2018 Check out these stars' jaw-dropping comments and get ready to cringe from secondhand embarrassment. 1. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "18 Celebs Who Threw Massive Amounts of Shade at Their Exes," 17 Oct. 2018 Small boys pushed wheelbarrows stacked with jerry cans of water along uneven dirt roads, while others sold secondhand clothes in a makeshift market under the scorching sun. Sam Mednick, Fox News, "In South Sudan, some children work in mines to survive," 12 Sep. 2018 The whole thing gives me a severe case of secondhand embarrassment. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "This Week in Elon," 24 Aug. 2018 The show's two-season path to revealing how -- spoiler reminder! -- patriarch Jack died firmly placed the blame in Tuesday's episode on a faulty secondhand slow-cooker, the humble, downright beloved American appliance. Becky Krystal,, "Crock-Pot tells 'This Is Us' fans: Our slow cookers won't kill you," 25 Jan. 2018 In the 1980s, secondhand clothing began flowing into African countries that had dropped their protectionist economic policies. Alden Wicker, Newsweek, "Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis," 1 Sep. 2016 Reselling vintage and used fur by outlets not usually in the business of trading fur, such as secondhand stores, pawn shops and nonprofits, will still be allowed. Washington Post, "Fur is dead: Animal welfare groups cheer San Francisco ban," 20 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sierra Nevada’s approach is fairly radical—the Air Force doesn’t like buying second hand planes, but the aircraft will essentially be new, inexpensive, and not saddled with older, more expensive to maintain systems. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Wants Helicopters to Help Defend Nuclear Missiles," 10 Aug. 2018 There was a case several years ago in which a homeowner sued their neighbor and the HOA regarding second hand smoke, and after weeks in court won a judgment (imagine the amount of attorney fees!). Kelly G. Richardson,, "HOA Homefront: Where there’s smoke, there may be unhappy neighbors," 23 June 2018 Smaller objects, like the second hand, orbit faster than the bigger ones. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "A New Study Could Explain Away Some Evidence for Planet Nine," 4 June 2018 As of this year, Rosebrough says there's no immediate plans for surgery on her second hand as injuries were far more severe. Charlene Santiago, star-telegram, "'We help them have a life that God desires for all man kind'," 26 June 2018 This was a person relaying second hand information that there was an affair, possibly a child resulting from an affair. Fox News, "Mixed media verdict on Syria bombing," 16 Apr. 2018 The timepiece is apparently in great shape despite its 50 years, and is also notable for having a unique red second hand rather than the standard stainless steel. Sam Parker, Esquire, "You Could Own James Bond's Rolex," 29 June 2016 The internet has become a virtual Canal Street, filled with suspiciously authentic designer goods being resold on popular second hand websites. Kyle Stiansen, Teen Vogue, "5 Expert Tips for Spotting Fake Chanel Bags," 19 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'secondhand.' 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 secondhand


1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1759, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for secondhand

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for secondhand

The first known use of secondhand was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for secondhand



English Language Learners Definition of secondhand

: having had a previous owner

: buying or selling things that have already been owned or used

: not original : taken from someone who was not directly involved


sec·​ond·​hand | \ˌse-kənd-ˈhand \

Kids Definition of secondhand

1 : not new : having had a previous owner a secondhand automobile

2 : selling used goods a secondhand shop

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Comments on secondhand

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