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

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 Many secondhand stores will reject items from fast-fashion chains like Forever 21, H&M, Zara and Topshop. Alden Wicker, Newsweek, "Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis," 1 Sep. 2016 What makes this platform special and sets it apart from the rest is its selection—all of the items for sale on the website are carefully sourced from local vintage and secondhand stores around France. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This Is Where All of the Coolest French Girls Get Their Vintage Fashion," 2 July 2018 The kiosks would be regulated in the same way as secondhand shops and junk dealers. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Legislature approves Rick Snyder's 'Marshall Plan' before summer break," 12 June 2018 ThredUp’s own research, published in its annual Resale Report this year, found 44 million women shopped secondhand in 2017, up from 35 million the year prior. Janelle Nanos,, "The founder of 2nd Time Around tries a 3rd act on Newbury Street," 14 May 2018 The company is the largest online retailer of secondhand clothes, shoes, and accessories. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Places To Shop Online If You Want To Save Money And Live A Zero Waste Lifestyle," 24 Aug. 2017 Maude’s Coffee and Clothing is a quirky little place with nice people, smooth coffee, and racks of eclectic new and secondhand clothing. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "An Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Ketchum, Idaho," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

9 Sep 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

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


one that holds something together

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