Main definitions of second in English

: second1second2second3


ordinal number

  • 1Constituting number two in a sequence; coming after the first in time or order; 2nd.

    ‘he married for a second time’
    ‘Herbie was the second of their six children’
    • ‘The second phase consisted of a timed withdrawal along five defensive lines south to the Bataan Peninsula.’
    • ‘Halfway into the second quarter the Titans were in the lead 14 to 0.’
    • ‘If dealer does the latter, a second round of bidding occurs in which eldest hand has the right to name the trump suit.’
    • ‘The second step is an order to transfer the money abroad to the account of an offshore company.’
    • ‘There have been a large number of orders and the second publication will be out shortly.’
    • ‘The second number in the order is something that I do not think that my learned friend has strong views upon.’
    • ‘The second defendant ordered the victim to leap down from the roof of a gazebo.’
    • ‘At 48, Anita Sarawak (second from left) is the grand dame of this quartet.’
    • ‘Six or seven were selected for a second round of improvisations, this time with Pamela playing their mother.’
    • ‘Only the leading two parties go through to the second round in each of 577 constituencies.’
    • ‘As far as the second point of order is concerned, I ruled in favour of the member raising it.’
    • ‘"Your room is upstairs, the second from the left.’
    • ‘However, sources say this is the second time the constables are being transferred.’
    • ‘All of the various powers were fighting the war in order to shape the second half of the 20th century.’
    • ‘They are second from left and far right in the photo below.’
    • ‘Our second order of business is just as much a threat to our existence as the first topic.’
    • ‘Mrs Cryer spoke to former health minister Jacqui Smith, who ordered a second inquiry.’
    • ‘Moreover, it soared to nearly 7 % in the second quarter this year.’
    • ‘The company is expected to take a number of the potential buyers through to a second round of bidding.’
    • ‘The home side drew level with two second half goals.’
    next, following, after the first, subsequent, ensuing, succeeding, coming
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Secondly (used to introduce a second point or reason)
      ‘second, they are lightly regulated; and third, they do business with nonresident clients’
      • ‘First, it comes from the country that gave the world Mussolini and second, it will break down.’
    2. 1.2Music
      An interval spanning two consecutive notes in a diatonic scale.
      • ‘With its visceral tritones and flatted seconds, the band's sound revolved more around the riff than the song.’
      • ‘It's a row you can hum, for it emphasizes thirds and fourths, rather than seconds and tritones.’
      • ‘There is little dissonance beyond frequent major seconds (next-door notes).’
    3. 1.3The note which is higher by a second than the tonic of a diatonic scale or root of a chord.
    4. 1.4The second in a sequence of a vehicle's gears.
      ‘he took the corner in second’
      • ‘I slip the bike into the second of 24 powerful gears and accelerate to six miles an hour.’
    5. 1.5Baseball
      Second base.
      • ‘He looks for the same pitch with nobody on base as when there is a runner on second.’
    6. 1.6The second grade of a school.
    7. 1.7informal A second course or second helping of food at a meal.
      • ‘I make a huge dinner with enough for everyone to eat and maybe some people could even have seconds if there was food and they were motivated.’
    8. 1.8Denoting someone or something regarded as comparable to or reminiscent of a better-known predecessor.
      ‘a fear that the conflict would turn into a second Vietnam’
      • ‘Iraq is becoming a second Vietnam with the same tired strategies.’
      • ‘Will their ever be a second "Beatles"?’
    9. 1.9An act or instance of seconding.
  • 2Subordinate or inferior in position, rank, or importance.

    ‘it was second only to Copenhagen among Baltic ports’
    ‘he is a writer first and a scientist second’
    • ‘The second fastest was 156 kph, which was over there again in 2000.’
    • ‘The county has become the second fastest-growing local economy in Scotland.’
    • ‘He has impressed in the health brief and is now ranked second favourite by some bookies.’
    • ‘Bangladesh was ranked second highest with 37 attacks.’
    • ‘She slid a very severe glance at the captain and his second in command.’
    • ‘When she first got here, she was ranked second from the bottom of the entire class.’
    • ‘Here's a device built principally for shuffle mode first, with sequential listening second.’
    • ‘Since Ryel was now second in command, there was only one person left.’
    • ‘Just look at Newcastle, they are second from bottom, like we are.’
    • ‘The results reveal that cocaine is the second most common drug to show up in tests, with cannabis the most frequent.’
    • ‘For many decades Colombia was the world's second leading producer of coffee behind Brazil.’
    • ‘The second major concern is the message that this sends to the international community.’
    • ‘The time was the second fastest of the day of 48 at that distance.’
    • ‘Wiltshire is currently ranked as the second safest county in the country.’
    • ‘They even showed signs of the team that became everyone's second favourite last year.’
    • ‘Airport bosses say Leeds Bradford is the second fastest growing airport in the UK.’
    • ‘Speeding ranks a distant second at 19.7 percent.’
    • ‘Switzerland is perhaps second only to Germany in enthusiasm for Lebkuchen.’
    • ‘The first one being simply waved off, it is the second aspect that takes importance.’
    • ‘Aids has become the world's second leading cause of infectious disease deaths.’
    secondary, lower, subordinate, subsidiary, lesser, minor, subservient, supporting, lower-grade, inferior
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Additional to that already existing, used, or possessed.
      ‘a second home’
      ‘French as a second language’
      • ‘The book is targeted at learners who are past their teens and learning English as a second language.’
      • ‘It is law and important that the second seal be used to prevent any misuse of the first.’
      • ‘A second type of contractual-debt subordination is a contingency debt arrangement.’
      • ‘Why it's moonlighting of course or the holding of a second job in addition to your regular one.’
      • ‘In that case, are there any advantages to starting second language teaching at an early age?’
      • ‘Stakeholder pensions are second pensions in addition to the basic state pension that everyone gets.’
      • ‘A second court order has now been made directing Ms Andersen to return the children immediately.’
      • ‘Finbar's family ordered a second post-mortem on his body when it arrived in Dublin on Monday.’
      • ‘The child may have already had some teaching in Swedish as a second language.’
      • ‘The GP is vaccinating up to 15 children a day, and he is now placing his second order.’
      • ‘The second thing, and probably the most important, was that I didn't need faith to survive.’
      • ‘A second doctor must be consulted, and life must be ended in a medically appropriate way.’
      • ‘Grainger denies one charge of robbery and a second charge of possessing a firearm with intent to commit robbery.’
      • ‘In forensic science laboratories, a second scientist validates each case.’
      • ‘Research shows immersion is an effective method of teaching French as a second language.’
      • ‘At 8pm our main courses arrived, and we ordered a second bottle of house wine.’
      • ‘Part of his prize money is already earmarked for a second birthday present later this week.’
      • ‘Gaby says she knows someone who may be able to do a second environmental test.’
      • ‘In the past a second option for countries was to import gold - either by trade or by war.’
      • ‘Before we left, a second waitress appeared and things speeded up markedly.’
      • ‘Plenty of foreign buyers also buy in order to have a second property or retirement property.’
      • ‘Just learned from my German publisher that he ordered a second print run of my book.’
    2. 2.2The second finisher or position in a race or competition.
      ‘he finished second’
      • ‘The Swiss club with no domestic titles finished second in its league last season.’
      • ‘The last drawing competition I entered I came second in the whole of Victoria.’
      • ‘After winning the qualifying heats she finished a close second in the final.’
      • ‘Cindy Medina, based at Fairmount Park, finished second with nine points.’
      • ‘Morales garnered 21 percent of the ballot to place a surprise second in the presidential race.’
      • ‘The team have been regular entrants in the competition and finished second five years ago.’
    3. 2.3British A place in the second-highest grade in an examination, especially for a degree.
      ‘she got a first in moral sciences and a second in history’
    4. 2.4Music
      Performing a lower or subordinate of two or more parts for the same instrument or voice.
      ‘the second violins’
      • ‘I was seated as first chair of the second clarinets in the all-state high school honors band.’
      • ‘We note that the twelve first violins were playing identical notes, as were the second violins.’
      • ‘The first oboes hold a sustained top B for 4 bars, the second oboes descend from D to C.’
      • ‘Lines are passed from the flutes, to the low brass, to the tubas and bass clarinets, and finally to the horns and second trumpets.’
      • ‘She played second violin in a philharmonic orchestra that happened to be visiting my town.’
    5. 2.5Goods of an inferior quality.
    6. 2.6Coarse flour, or bread made from it.
  • 3An assistant, in particular.

    • ‘The two second in commands, watched with hidden fear and amusement at the scene.’
    assistant, attendant, helper, aide, supporter, backer, auxiliary, right-hand man, right-hand woman, girl friday, man friday, second in command, number two, deputy, vice-, understudy, subordinate, adjutant, subaltern, henchman
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1An attendant assisting a combatant in a duel or boxing match.
      • ‘It included a tryst with a young man, who volunteered to be a second in a duel.’
      • ‘As the second stooped to assist her fallen friend, who should walk towards the hotel entrance but their hero.’


  • 1 Formally support or endorse (a nomination or resolution or its proposer) as a necessary preliminary to adoption or further discussion.

    ‘Bertonazzi seconded Birmingham's nomination’
    • ‘The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.’
    • ‘This nomination is to be seconded by Singapore.’
    • ‘After the nomination was seconded, we voted on whether to give John a bid.’
    • ‘The adoption of the Estimate was seconded by Ald.’
    • ‘Alvar had recommended that they follow it, and Lexa had seconded the motion.’
    • ‘The Premierleague is a self-determining body which requires motions to be proposed and seconded by existing members.’
    • ‘A speaker from Strathclyde seconded this resolution.’
    • ‘The adoption of the plan was seconded by Councillor Richard Finn.’
    • ‘The vice-chairman proposed writing to the Minister on the matter and the proposal was seconded by Paddy Flannery.’
    • ‘Dick Shannon seconded this proposal and it was agreed by all members, who gave a warm round of applause to Mr Maxwell.’
    • ‘The New York Stock Exchange seconded the proposal in June.’
    • ‘Patrick Durcan seconded his proposal and went a step further in suggesting the council seek a meeting with An Post.’
    • ‘Mr. Rody Kelly seconded the proposal adding he was pleased to see the theatre would be linked to the new visual arts centre.’
    • ‘In seconding the proposal, Senator Jim Higgins said he had known both gentlemen for many years.’
    • ‘His proposal is being seconded by Geoff Holmes (Bradford).’
    • ‘Peter Flynn seconded the proposal but added that this was just another example of the government's stealth taxes.’
    • ‘One by one, the men and women in the room seconded the motion.’
    • ‘The proposal was seconded by Senator Paddy Burke.’
    • ‘Major supported her, and seconded her nomination for the first ballot.’
    • ‘The proposal was seconded by Alderman Jim McGarry, who slammed rumours that the scheme would not come.’
    formally support, give one's support to, announce one's support for, vote for, back, back up, approve, give one's approval to, endorse, promote, commend
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Express agreement with.
      ‘her view is seconded by most Indian leaders today’
      • ‘A view that was seconded by actor Pankaj Kapoor, who pointed out that ‘all we did was stay truthful to the script’.’
      • ‘All evidence pointed to it and his gut feeling seconded his view.’
      • ‘I'll second what Jasper just said.’
      • ‘McAuley seconded Hope's sentiment and sought in transitory embraces an answer to his nagging fear of emotional impairment.’
      • ‘That view is seconded by Robert Bryce in his book.’
      • ‘I seconded his recommendation and gave out the website address to the audience.’
      • ‘The appeals court advised retirees to seek help from Congress, a recommendation seconded by major veterans organizations, which predict the courts won't fix the problem.’
      • ‘‘I agree,’ Gabe seconded, folding his arms across his chest.’
      • ‘It was with a slightly lighter heart that she seconded her son's recommendation.’
      • ‘Leader of the US delegation, then-Vice President Al Gore's view was seconded and reiterated by distinguished speakers from all over the world.’
      • ‘Nah, really I'd like to second what everyone is saying.’
      • ‘Five years later, Paul Mantz seconded Prost's suggestion, adding that the painting was ‘without contest a work of art.’’
      • ‘I also second the suggestion of Duel To The Death, which has great sword work.’
      • ‘Circumcision was a sign of ‘the inherent barbarism of this people’, a view seconded by a Dr Hacker in a medical journal during 1843.’
    2. 1.2archaic Support; back up.
      ‘so well was he seconded by the multitude of laborers at his command’


  • every second

    • see omitted unresolving XREF to "every other " at every
  • in the second place

    • As a second consideration or point.

      • ‘And in the second place, it would also then change, I think, the attitude of the world towards the armed conflict.’
      • ‘We find that very untrue in the first place, and very unpleasant in the second place.’
      • ‘It was controversial because, in the first place, the Government would not release it, and, in the second place, estimates made by private sector bankers were very large and the Government disputed them.’
      • ‘And in the second place, it just leaves more room for you and me.’
      • ‘And in the second place, what sort of sense does it make to release details of the payment?’
      • ‘None of this boded very well for the Secreta Alf, who, in the first place, didn't like cold, and, in the second place, didn't like people.’
      • ‘And in the second place, I'm not putting any moves on her.’
      • ‘There is already too much fighting in the world to contend with in the first place and in the second place, I am sure I have other things I can be doing.’
      • ‘And, in the second place, Paul is madly in love with ‘Dragonfly’, the lead character.’
      • ‘In the first place, then, there are those propositions we simply see to be true; in the second place there are those propositions we see to follow from those in the first group.’
  • second to none

    • The best, worst, fastest, etc.

      • ‘In training, I've seen him working really hard and his attitude is second to none.’
      • ‘The character design is second to none, and they've really taken advantage of the machine's strengths.’
      • ‘He worked harder than anyone and his course management was second to none.’
      • ‘This was a much deserved honour to a truly wonderful lady, gifted by God with a musical talent second to none.’
      • ‘To put the record straight, the UK nuclear submarine flotilla has a nuclear safety record second to none.’
      • ‘The food was quite wonderful, the atmosphere perfect and the welcome second to none.’
      • ‘The welcome extended to them was second to none and the children will have many happy memories of their visit.’
      • ‘This is a country that's proven second to none when it comes to putting curling on the TV airwaves.’
      • ‘They are, in fact, proving that they are second to none in developing creative attributes.’
      • ‘The journalists who work for this newspaper are some of the best in the country and their ethics are second to none.’
      incomparable, matchless, unrivalled, inimitable, beyond compare, unparalleled, without parallel, unequalled, without equal, unmatched, in a class of its own, beyond comparison, peerless, unsurpassed, unsurpassable, nonpareil, unique
      perfect, consummate, rare, exquisite, transcendent, surpassing, superlative, supreme
      View synonyms


Middle English: via Old French from Latin secundus following, second from the base of sequi follow The verb dates from the late 16th century.

Main definitions of second in English

: second1second2second3



  • 1A sixtieth of a minute of time, which as the SI unit of time is defined in terms of the natural periodicity of the radiation of a cesium-133 atom.

    • ‘Tullow clinched victory in the last thirty seconds of the game.’
    • ‘In a span of about ten seconds, Jane went from shocked, to deliriously happy to devastated.’
    • ‘If no symptoms are present and the sinus pauses last three seconds or less, no further evaluation is necessary.’
    • ‘The score that well and truly got Tallow back into contention came just sixty seconds before the half-time break.’
    • ‘His time of 8 minutes 51 seconds took some four seconds off his personal best time.’
    • ‘The grenade would probably only last ten seconds at best.’
    • ‘Torrance squeezed the trigger, waited twenty five seconds and fired again.’
    • ‘They are quite fast, and can cross a hundred meter span in eight seconds.’
    • ‘The angrily snapped words were greeted with a full five seconds of silence.’
    • ‘The meters have also become more efficient and it takes only five seconds to obtain the readings.’
    • ‘He waited a few cold seconds of silence and then talked past me to Mel.’
    • ‘He faced the younger man, and, in a span of two seconds, managed to down him with a very strong punch on the face.’
    • ‘Gardner and teammates watched helplessly as the final six seconds ticked off the clock.’
    • ‘Only thirty seconds had passed since she last checked!’
    • ‘Then, in the span of 81 seconds, the Americans scored two goals.’
    • ‘But, my question is: why is it four minutes and thirty three seconds long in the first place?’
    • ‘She was now five minutes and twenty eight seconds late.’
    • ‘Within a span of seconds, the entire shelter was bathed in darkness.’
    • ‘Footage also shows the fuel tank's nose cone hit a bird just seconds after liftoff yesterday.’
    • ‘God, why couldn't he have come just three seconds earlier?’
    1. 1.1informal A very short time.
      ‘his eyes met Charlotte's for a second’
      • ‘The second the plane stopped on the runway, half of the passengers leapt up, almost as if choreographed.’
      • ‘Phew, for a second I thought you were going to tell me something serious.’
      • ‘The two top draws for the WWF in the last year were seconds away from going toe to toe.’
      • ‘Whether this process takes seconds or years, God will answer you and show you his love.’
      • ‘Because, as everyone knows, an item always redeems its value the second you throw it away.’
      • ‘For a second he looked directly at her - a miracle in itself - and she saw fear in his eyes.’
      • ‘I opened my mouth for a second and then closed it, not sure what to do.’
      • ‘Why, wait just one second… that's a gentleman on the stage!’
      • ‘In a second he was out of bed, running towards the burglar and ‘screeching’ at him to get out.’
      • ‘Everyone bought what was put in the basket without even a second's hesitation.’
      • ‘Being unaware of time, he didn't know if he'd been dead a few seconds or millions of years.’
      • ‘It is hard to restrain yourself from gobbling them up the second they come to the table.’
  • 2A sixtieth of a minute of angular distance.

    • ‘For a gyroscope in polar orbit, it works out to be about 0.041 arc second per year.’
    • ‘These gave results correct to 1 second of arc but were not too practical as the series converged slowly.’
    • ‘It crosses at a point 50 seconds of arc to the east of the previous year.’
    • ‘By the way, one second of arc is not to be confused as a measure of time!’
    • ‘In actual numbers its resolution is about half an arc second, which is equivalent of seeing a five cent piece from about 10 kilometres away.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin secunda (minuta) second (minute) feminine (used as a noun) of secundus, referring to the “second” operation of dividing an hour by sixty.

Main definitions of second in English

: second1second2second3



  • Transfer (a military officer or other official or worker) temporarily to other employment or another position.

    ‘I was seconded to a public relations unit’
    • ‘Not long after he was seconded to the Royal Air Force as a liaison officer, he claimed he had annoyed the Brigadier.’
    • ‘Workers want to be seconded to the winning company, rather than transferred, to protect their employment rights and pensions.’
    • ‘In May 1942, Truscott, as a colonel, was seconded to Combined Operations headquarters in London.’
    • ‘They are also protesting the employers' refusal to pay benefits to workers seconded to the water utility companies.’
    • ‘Kenneth Mason and Gordon McIvor were seconded to the association and worked as paid officials.’
    • ‘Prior to that he worked in the government economic service and was seconded to the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Office.’
    • ‘They want to remain as council employees and be seconded to any private company brought in to run the service.’
    • ‘With fronts opening up in the Mediterranean area, the regiment was seconded to the Australian army.’
    • ‘When finishing her general training she was seconded to work in a maternity unit for three months.’
    • ‘One officer seconded from the Premier's Department is there now.’
    • ‘Importantly, we have to work out what powers it would have over state and territory police officers seconded to the Australian Crime Commission.’
    • ‘Commodore Dayka Smythe was a gunnery control officer seconded to the Royal Navy at the time of the Normandy invasion.’
    • ‘The mutual aid process, in which officers are seconded to other forces, has also come under scrutiny.’
    • ‘The Johannesburg Metro Police Department has seconded ten officers dedicated to the enforcement of these by-laws.’
    • ‘Reed was its national convenor, while Bone and Cook were seconded to work for the forum from their Rotherham Council jobs.’
    • ‘This trend continued after Crown rule in 1858 and nearly all military engineers seconded to the Indian Army were British sapper officers.’
    • ‘A temporary officer will also be seconded to the Youth Offending Team, on a permanent arrangement.’
    • ‘Scottish officers have been seconded to the group from the country's eight forces.’
    • ‘He anticipated that both the secretary and liaison officer would be seconded from government departments.’
    • ‘A rank and file police officer seconded to his union to help activate traditionally passive members has been named the Organiser of the Year for 2000.’
    assign temporarily, lend
    transfer, move, shift, relocate, assign, reassign, send, attach, allocate, detail, appoint
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: from French en second in the second rank (of officers).