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 Living conditions, secondhand-smoke exposure, indoor pollution, and exposure to toxic chemicals at work are all factors that can lead to lung cancer. Anna Sudit, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About Lung Cancer, Including What to Do If You Think You Have It," 1 Oct. 2019 Professionals in the recycling industry operate their businesses in a sophisticated financial market for generating four commodities, which happen to be secondhand paper, metal, plastic and glass. Michael Taylor,, "Awash in dirty plastic: We’ve got a big problem in our recycling market," 27 Sep. 2019 From cozy faux-fur Chanel gloves to a Victorian-era charm bracelet, shop more of the very best secondhand and vintage gifts here. Vogue, "The 21 Best Secondhand and Vintage Gifts to Buy Now—Before Someone Else Does," 27 Nov. 2019 The cause of asthma is still largely unknown, but experts believe there are genetic, environmental, and occupational factors linked to the disease, like exposure to mold or dampness, allergens like dust mites, and even secondhand tobacco smoke. Leah Groth,, "13-Year-Old Broadway Star Laurel Griggs Dies from Asthma Attack—Here's How That Can Happen," 11 Nov. 2019 Department stores are experimenting with everything from selling secondhand apparel to scaled-down city locations that stock no merchandise but offer services like online order pickup and stylist appointments. Lauren Zumbach,, "A piano player, free gift wrap and coat check. In Chicago’s suburbs, Von Maur is out to prove traditional department stores aren’t dead.," 7 Nov. 2019 The organization provides donated secondhand furniture to people just getting on their feet after being homeless, living in emergency shelters or escaping violent relationships. Don Stacom,, "Bristol’s ‘Trash to Treasure’ offers free secondhand furniture," 18 Oct. 2019 One in three women shopped secondhand in 2017, according to ThredUp, an online consignment and thrift store that compiles an annual report on the resale industry. Kate Bowers, Fortune, "Kardashian Kloset Catapults the Famous Family Into the Resale Industry," 4 Oct. 2019 City officials had expressed concern in the past about an overabundance of secondhand stores in the Southland Shopping Center area. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Middleburg Heights extends moratoriums on medical marijuana, secondhand stores," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead, after grabbing a bigger object with one hand, reach your second hand to another spot on its shaft or side and grab on. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Boneworks review: An absolute VR mess—yet somehow momentous," 12 Dec. 2019 New designs frequently recall classic models, in a cycle of self-reference as constant as the ticking of a second hand. New York Times, "Jell-O as Art, Apocalypse-Ready Clothing and More," 30 Aug. 2019 Back in 2013, the former mixed martial artist and special forces combat trainer purchased a second hand camera off Craigslist simply to document his road to recovery from two injured knees. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Macho vegans: The documentary that's changing the script on plant-based diets," 18 Dec. 2019 Watch faces with second hands lose the quick circler in always-on mode. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Apple Watch Series 5 Review: Always-On Is Always Great," 20 Sep. 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? Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "Kamala Harris wants Trump suspended from Twitter for ‘harassment.' These 3 loopholes protect him.," 2 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? 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

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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Secondhand.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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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).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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