[ 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

Definition for second-class (2 of 2)

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.

Origin of second class

First recorded in 1830–40 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for second-class

British Dictionary definitions for second-class

second class


the class or grade next in value, quality, etc, to the first



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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.