- next after the first; being the ordinal number for two.
- being the latter of two equal parts.
- next after the first in place, time, or value: the second house from the corner.
- next after the first in rank, grade, degree, status, or importance: the second person in the company.
- alternate: I have my hair cut every second week.
- Grammar. noting or pertaining to the second person.
- Music. being the lower of two parts for the same instrument or voice: second horn; second alto.
- other or another: a second Solomon.
- Automotive. of, relating to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which drive shaft speed is greater than that of low gear but not so great as that of other gears for a given engine crankshaft speed: second gear.
- a second part.
- the second member of a series.
- a person who aids or supports another; assistant; backer.
- Boxing. a person who, between rounds of a prizefight, gives aid, advice, etc., to a boxer.
- a person who serves as a representative or attendant of a duelist.
- Automotive. second gear.
- a person or thing that is next after the first in place, time, or value.
- a person or thing that is next after the first in rank, grade, degree, status, or importance.
- Usually seconds. an additional helping of food: He had seconds on the meat and potatoes.
- (in parliamentary procedure)
- a person who expresses formal support of a motion so that it may be discussed or put to a vote.
- an act or instance of doing this.
- (in certain British universities) a type or grade of college degree granted according to a student's performance on specific written and oral examinations.
- a tone on the next degree from a given tone.
- the interval between such tones.
- the harmonic combination of such tones.
- the lower of two parts in a piece of concerted music.
- a voice or instrument performing such a part.
- an alto.
- Usually seconds. Commerce. goods below the first or highest quality, especially containing visible flaws.Compare first(def 17), third(def 12).
- Metallurgy. a piece of somewhat defective but salable tin plate.
- Baseball. second base.
- to assist or support.
- to further or advance, as aims.
- (in parliamentary procedure) to express formal support of (a motion, proposal, etc.), as a necessary preliminary to further discussion or to voting.
- to act as second to (a boxer, duelist, etc.).
- in the second place, group, etc.; secondly: The catcher is batting second.
Origin of second1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for second on Thesaurus.com
- the sixtieth part of a minute of time.
- a moment or instant: It takes only a second to phone.
- the basic unit of time in the International System of Units(SI), equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation in a transition, or energy level change, of the cesium atom. Symbol: s, S; Abbreviation: sec
- Geometry, Astronomy. the sixtieth part of a minute of angular measure, often represented by the sign ″, as in 30″, which is read as 30 seconds.Compare angle1(def 1c).
Origin of second2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for second on Thesaurus.com
- British. to transfer (an officer, official, or the like) temporarily to another post.
Origin of second3
Examples from the Web for seconds
The missile fell back to earth after just 40 seconds in the air.Ashton Carter, the Wonk Who Would Lead the Pentagon
Shane Harris, Tim Mak
December 2, 2014
Sprinkle on the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.Make These Barefoot Contessa Chicken Pot Pies
November 29, 2014
“About 30 seconds and traffic started going, but no one blew their horns,” Johnson told the grand jury.
Not 90 seconds later, Brown lay shot to death in broad daylight in the middle of a Missouri street.
Seconds in, I wanted it to stop, but it just kept going and going.I Felt Like Showering After the First-Person Sex in ‘Grand Theft Auto’
November 22, 2014
Latitude of camp 26 degrees 42 minutes 43 seconds by Regulus.Explorations in Australia
Cheap jars are likely to be seconds and will not prove so satisfactory.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
There was a silence that seemed long, though it was measured in the passing of seconds.
For seconds, there was revealed the busy stenographer, bent over his pad.
The suddenness of it all held Mary voiceless for long seconds.
- coming directly after the first in numbering or counting order, position, time, etc; being the ordinal number of two: often written 2nd
- (as noun)the second in line
- rated, graded, or ranked between the first and third levels
- alternateevery second Thursday
- additional; extraa second opportunity
- resembling a person or event from an earlier period of history; unoriginala second Wagner
- of lower quality; inferiorbelonging to the second class
- denoting the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
- relating to or denoting a musical part, voice, or instrument lower in pitch than another part, voice, or instrument (the first)the second tenors
- of or relating to a part, instrument, or instrumentalist regarded as subordinate to another (the first)the second flute
- at second hand by hearsay
- British education an honours degree of the second class, usually further divided into an upper and lower designationFull term: second-class honours degree
- the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehiclehe changed into second on the bend
- (in boxing, duelling, etc) an attendant who looks after a competitor
- a speech seconding a motion or the person making it
- (plural) goods of inferior quality
- (plural) informal a second helping of food
- (plural) the second course of a meal
- to give aid or backing to
- (in boxing, etc) to act as second to (a competitor)
- to make a speech or otherwise express formal support for (a motion already proposed)
- Also: secondly in the second place
- Also: secondly as the second point: linking what follows with the previous statement
- 1/60 of a minute of time
- the basic SI unit of time: the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of caesium-133Symbol: s
- 1/60 of a minute of angleSymbol: ″
- a very short period of time; moment
- to transfer (an employee) temporarily to another branch, etc
- military to transfer (an officer) to another post, often retiring him to a staff or nonregimental position
Word Origin and History for seconds
"articles below the first quality," c.1600, plural of second (n.) "that which is after the first" (early 14c.), from second (adj.); originally attested in this sense in a Shakespeare sonnet. Meaning "second helping of food at a meal" is recorded from 1792.
"next after first," c.1300, from Old French second, secont, and directly from Latin secundus "following, next in time or order," also "secondary, subordinate, inferior," from root of sequi "follow" (see sequel). Replaced native other in this sense because of the ambiguousness of the earlier word. Second sight is from 1610s; an etymologically perverse term, because it means in reality the sight of events before, not after, they occur. Second fiddle first attested 1809:
A metaphor borrowed from a musical performer who plays the second or counter to one who plays the first or the "air." [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]
"one-sixtieth of a minute of degree," also "sixtieth part of a minute of time," late 14c. in geometry, from Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta "second diminished part," the result of the second division of the hour by sixty (the first being the "prime minute," now called the minute), from Latin secunda, fem. of secundus (see second (adj.)). The second hand of a clock is attested from 1759.
1580s, "to support or represent in a duel, fight, etc.," from Middle French seconder, from Latin secundare "to assist, make favorable," from secundus "assisting, favorable, following, second" (see second (adj.)). The noun in this sense is first recorded 1580s. The verb in the parliamentary sense is first recorded 1590s. Related: Seconded; seconding.
- Coming next after the first in order, place, rank, time, or quality.
- Being the next closest to the innermost digit, especially on the foot.
Idioms and Phrases with seconds
In addition to the idioms beginning with second
- second banana
- second best
- second childhood
- second class
- second cousin
- second fiddle
- second hand
- second nature
- second sight
- second thoughts
- second to none
- second wind
- at second hand
- come off (second best)
- in a flash (second)
- in the first (second) place
- on second thought
- play second fiddle
- split second
- top (second) banana