second language

  1. a language learned by a person after their native language, especially as a resident of an area where their new language is in general use.

  2. a language widely used, especially in educational and governmental functions in a region where all or most of its speakers are nonnative, as English in India or Nigeria.

Origin of second language

First recorded in 1875–80

Words Nearby second language Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use second language in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for second language

second language

  1. a language other than the mother tongue that a person or community uses for public communication, esp in trade, higher education, and administration

  2. a non-native language officially recognized and adopted in a multilingual country as a means of public communication

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