second

1 of 5

adjective

sec·​ond ˈse-kənd How to pronounce second (audio)
 also  -kənt,
 especially before a consonant  -kən,
-kᵊŋ How to pronounce second (audio)
1
a
: next to the first in place or time
was second in line
b(1)
: next to the first in value, excellence, or degree
his second choice of schools
(2)
: inferior, subordinate
was second to none
c
: ranking next below the top of a grade or degree in authority or precedence
second mate
d
: alternate, other
elects a mayor every second year
e
: resembling or suggesting a prototype : another
a second Thoreau
f
: being the forward gear or speed next higher than first in a motor vehicle
2
: relating to or having a part typically subordinate to and lower in pitch than the first part in concerted or ensemble music

second

2 of 5

noun (1)

1
a
: one that is number two in a series see Table of Numbers
b
: one that is next after the first in rank, position, authority, or precedence
the second in line
2
: one that assists or supports another
especially : the assistant of a duelist or boxer
3
a
: the musical interval embracing two diatonic degrees
b
: a tone at this interval
specifically : supertonic
c
: the harmonic combination of two tones a second apart
4
a
seconds plural : merchandise that is usually slightly flawed and does not meet the manufacturer's standard for firsts or irregulars
b
: an article of such merchandise
5
: the act or declaration by which a parliamentary motion is seconded
6
: a place next below the first in a competition, examination, or contest
7
8
: the second forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle
9
seconds plural : a second helping of food

second

3 of 5

adverb

1
: in the second place : secondly
These two kinds of image … have a powerful appeal for us, first, because we are all … inevitably concerned about our fate, and second, because our concern is itself twofold … Robert Penn Warren
2
: before all others with one exception
the nation's second largest city
They are my second favorite band.

second

4 of 5

noun (2)

1
a
: the 60th part of a minute of angular measure
b
: the 60th part of a minute of time : 1/86,400 part of the mean solar day
specifically : the base unit of time in the International System of Units that is equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom
2
: an instant of time : moment

second

5 of 5

verb

seconded; seconding; seconds

transitive verb

1
a
: to give support or encouragement to : assist
b
: to support (a fighting person or group) in combat : bring up reinforcements for
2
a
: to support or assist in contention or debate
b
: to endorse (a motion or a nomination) so that debate or voting may begin
3
si-ˈkänd How to pronounce second (audio) chiefly British : to release (someone, such as a military officer) from a regularly assigned position for temporary duty with another unit or organization
seconder noun

Example Sentences

Adjective We sat in the second row. the second house on the left B is the second letter in the alphabet. That's the second time I've seen him today. Chocolate is my first choice; vanilla is my second choice. The chair needs a second coat of paint. She plays second violin in the city orchestra. Verb I would like to second the motion to adjourn. “Let's call it a day.” “I'll second that.” See More

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French secund, from Latin secundus second, following, favorable, from sequi to follow — more at sue

Noun (2)

Middle English secounde, from Medieval Latin secunda, from Latin, feminine of secundus second; from its being the second sexagesimal division of a unit, as a minute is the first

Verb

Latin secundare, from secundus second, favorable

First Known Use

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of second was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near second

Cite this Entry

“Second.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/second. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

second 1 of 4

adjective

sec·​ond ˈsek-ənd How to pronounce second (audio)
also
-ənt How to pronounce second (audio)
1
: being number two in a series see number
2
a
: next to the first in time, order, importance, or rank
second violin
second place
b
: other entry 1 sense 2
elects a mayor every second year
c
: resembling or suggesting an original : another
a second Shakespeare
second adverb
secondly adverb

second

2 of 4

noun

1
a
: one that is number two in a series see number
b
: one next after the first in time, order, importance, or rank
2
: one who assists another (as in a duel or prizefight)
3
: the difference in pitch between the first tone and the second tone of a scale
4
: a damaged or imperfect article (as of merchandise)
5
: the act of seconding a motion
6
7
: the second gear or speed in an automobile
8
plural : a second helping of food

second

3 of 4

noun

1
a
: the 60th part of a minute of angular measure
b
: the 60th part of a minute of time
especially : the international unit of time related to the period of the radiation corresponding to a change between the two levels of the ground state of a particular isotope of the cesium atom
2
: instant entry 1, moment
I'll be back in a second

second

4 of 4

verb

1
: to give support or encouragement to : assist
2
: to encourage that something be debated or voted on
second a motion
seconder noun

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