- of lesser or minor quality, importance, or the like: a second-rate poet.
- inferior; mediocre: a second-rate performance.
Origin of second-rate
First recorded in 1660–70
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. middling, inadequate, undistinguished, pedestrian, commonplace.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for second-rate
The place begins to feel like a second-rate Madame Tussauds.Pablo Escobar’s Private Prison Is Now Run by Monks for Senior Citizens
June 7, 2014
At a certain point, the Christie staffers begin to sound like characters in a second-rate Tarantino script.Is This the Beginning of the End for Chris Christie?
January 8, 2014
Or did the poor guy have to read a second-rate novel or a false-sounding biography in his last hours on earth?Tom Reiss: How I Write
August 14, 2013
I used to be obsessed with the second-rate films of Alfred Hitchcock.Charles Baxter: How I Write
August 7, 2013
When Smith phoned the American Embassy in Rome to ask for assistance, he says the couple was treated like second-rate citizens.Abandoned Ship: New Book Details Honeymooners’ Costa Concordia Nightmare
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 10, 2013
They don't even know of the second-rate people or the third rate.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
It was a second-rate theatrical journal, still damp from the press.The Christian
Otherwise, to what use could these second-rate horses be put?
It is strange how Dante has been left to second-rate interpreters!Visions and Revisions
John Cowper Powys
Obviously, here in America we have a sympathetic tolerance for the "second-rate."The Building of a Book
- not of the highest quality; mediocre
- second in importance, 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
Word Origin and History for second-rate
1660s, originally of ships; see rate (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper