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90s Slang You Should Know


[sek-uh nd-klas, -klahs] /ˈsɛk əndˈklæs, -ˈklɑs/
of a secondary class or quality.
second-rate; inferior.
by second-class mail or passenger accommodations:
to travel second-class.
Origin of second-class
First recorded in 1830-40

second class

the class of travel accommodations, as on a train, that are less costly and luxurious than first class but are more costly and luxurious than third class.
Compare cabin class.
(in the U.S. Postal Service) the class of mail consisting of newspapers and periodicals not sealed against postal inspection.
the second of three honors degrees conferred by a British university.
First recorded in 1830-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for second-class
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But he was never more than a second-class workman, and he was so irregular that he could never be depended upon.

    Vandover and the Brute Frank Norris
  • He was industrious, patient, and honest with a sort of second-class honesty.

    Linda Tressel Anthony Trollope
  • Alongside and immediately forward of the second-class entrance was the after group of lifeboats, four on each side of the ship.

    Loss of the Steamship 'Titanic' British Government
  • "We are going for cattle," and he took two second-class tickets for Dalby.

    Australia Revenged Boomerang
  • Another signal victory this year was School Suffrage for women of the second-class cities.

British Dictionary definitions for second-class

second class

the class or grade next in value, quality, etc, to the first
of the class or grade next to the best in quality, etc
shoddy or inferior
of or denoting the class of accommodation in a hotel or on a train, etc, lower in quality and price than first class
  1. (in Britain) of or relating to mail that is processed more slowly than first-class mail
  2. (in the US and Canada) of or relating to mail that consists mainly of newspapers, etc
(education) See second1 (sense 10)
by second-class mail, transport, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for second-class

1833, from noun phrase (1810), from second (adj.) + class (n.). Phrase second-class citizen is recorded from 1942.

The Negro recognizes that he is a second-class citizen and that status is fraught with violent potentialities, particularly today when he is living up to the full responsibilities of citizenship on the field of battle. [Louis E. Martin, "To Be or Not to Be a Liberal," in "The Crisis," September 1942]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with second-class

second class

Inferior; see second best
Travel accommodations ranking below the highest or first class, as in Traveling second class on European trains is not only cheaper but gives you more contact with local people. [ c. 1840 ]
In the United States and Canada, a category of mail consisting of periodicals and newspapers. [ c. 1870 ]
second-class citizen. An individual regarded or treated as inferior to others in status or rights, an underprivileged person. For example, In many countries women still are considered second-class citizens. This term uses second class in the sense of “inferior.” [ c. 1940 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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