sec·​ond·​hand | \ ˈse-kən(d)-ˈhand How to pronounce secondhand (audio) \

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 How to pronounce second hand (audio) \

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 How to pronounce second hand (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of secondhand in a Sentence

Adjective a dealer in secondhand furniture He's always haunting the secondhand shops for bargains.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Benton House Holiday Bazaar offers gift-giving ideas from many vendors, plus a secondhand Christmas decor shop, and proceeds from the event benefit the Benton House. Natalia E. Contreras, Indianapolis Star, "Forget the mall. Check out these holiday gift shows and market around Indianapolis," 22 Nov. 2019 Whoever the Jesuits hired in the seventeenth century to portray the Crucifixion clearly had first- or secondhand experience of torture. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "The Bird Angle," 28 Oct. 2019 The worst crime is to make the viewer feel the cringe of secondhand embarrassment. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Famous for Looking Like Someone More Famous," 19 Sep. 2019 Such relationships allow the brands themselves to engage with shoppers who are participating in the secondhand market. Sarah Halzack And Andrea Felsted | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "New or Used, It’s Still Luxury," 12 Nov. 2019 Trump insisted earlier Friday he has not been damaged by testimony and Republicans complain the witnesses generally are relying on secondhand accounts of the events central to the probe. Lisa Mascaro, Time, "Impeachment Panel Transcripts Give Inside Look Into Ukraine Meetings at the White House," 8 Nov. 2019 Other retailers are starting to acknowledge the burgeoning secondhand market too. Millie Dent, CNN, "Burberry partners with The RealReal to test reselling high fashion," 7 Oct. 2019 Republicans zeroed in the fact that that whistleblower's account was based on secondhand information from other White House and administration officials. Michael Balsamo, Fortune, "Why the Whistleblower Complaint Is About More Than Just a Phone Call," 26 Sep. 2019 Republicans zeroed in the fact that that whistleblower’s account was based on secondhand information from other White House and administration officials. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Whistleblower complaint takeaways: More than a phone call," 26 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition, all second hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have even been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "Kamala Harris wants Trump suspended from Twitter for ‘harassment.' These 3 loopholes protect him.," 2 Oct. 2019 Even second hand car dealers were getting in on the act, although the discounts were not as steep. Washington Post, "Chinese online shoppers shatter Cyber Monday records on ‘Double 11’," 11 Nov. 2019 The less-than-intuitive means for unpairing a vehicle and phone—not to mention the difficulty in knowing a device remains connected—represent a serious security and privacy risk, not just to renters, but to people buying a vehicle second hand. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Five months after returning rental car, man still has remote control," 28 Oct. 2019 My hair was asymmetrical, my clothes were eccentric and second hand, my jackets were covered in band pins, and my hands were covered in vintage silver and gold jewelry. Lauren Brown, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My Margaret Cross Jewelry," 16 Oct. 2019 In addition, all second hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have even been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, "Trump, caught off guard, struggles to fight impeachment storm," 27 Sep. 2019 For example, the more recent past can be examined by measuring how much carbon-14 in a sample has decayed into nitrogen, with each stage of decay like the ticking of a second hand. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Elizabeth Rona, Pioneering Scientist Amid Dangers of War," 28 Aug. 2019 When the watch transitions to speedometer mode, the second hand suddenly describes the current speed in metric or imperial, the minute hand shows distance traveled, and the date dial shows the average speed. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Bike Speedometer Is Also a Smartwatch," 30 Nov. 2016 So grab the father figure in your life and get ready to either laugh or suffer from second hand embarrassment with some of these jokes. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "25 Hilarious Dad Jokes That’ll Make You Die Laughing," 9 May 2019

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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Time Traveler for secondhand

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for secondhand

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Secondhand.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for secondhand


How to pronounce second hand (audio)

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 How to pronounce secondhand (audio) \

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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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