Meaning of “second class” in the English Dictionary

"second class" in British English

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second classadjective

also second-class uk /ˌsek.ənd ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌsek.ənd ˈklæs/

second class adjective (LESS EXPENSIVE)

relating to the less expensive way of travelling in a train, aircraft, etc., that most people use:

a second-class seat/ticket

UK Second-class post is less expensive and sent less quickly than first-class:

second-class mail/postage
How much is a second-class stamp?

second class adjective (QUALIFICATION)

a degree from a university in the UK and some other countries that is a good degree but not the best possible

second classadverb

uk /ˌsek.ənd ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌsek.ənd ˈklæs/

If you travel second class in a train, aircraft, etc., you use the less expensive type of ticket that most people use:

We always travel second class.

UK If you send something second class, you send it using the less expensive type of post:

How much less would it cost to send it second class?

second classnoun [ U ]

uk /ˌsek.ənd ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌsek.ənd ˈklæs/

the seats on a plane or in a train that are less good and less expensive than first class:

Second class is at the rear of the train.

UK a less expensive and slower type of post than first class:

How much does it cost for second class?

(Definition of “second class” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"second-class" in American English

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considered to be less important or of lower quality than others:

The poor are treated as second-class citizens.

(Definition of “second-class” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"second-class" in Business English

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second-classadjective

also second class uk /ˌsekəndˈklɑːs/ us

TRANSPORT relating to the normal level of service offered, especially on a train:

She was sitting in one of the second-class compartments.
second-class fares/tickets/travel

COMMUNICATIONS in the UK, relating to a less expensive service for sending mail which is slower than first-class:

a second-class delivery/letter/stamp
second-class post/mail

COMMUNICATIONS in the US, relating to the mail service used for sending magazines and newspapers

used to describe a degree from a UK university that is good but not of the highest possible standard:

The successful candidate must have a first or second class honours degree.

considered less important or of a lower quality than something or someone else:

Vocational education does not in any way mean second-class education.
It is appalling that older people are treated as second-class citizens.

second-classadverb

also second class uk us

TRANSPORT using the normal level of service offered:

She shops around for bargains and travels second class.

COMMUNICATIONS using the slower, less expensive service for sending mail:

The parcel was sent second class.

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second-classnoun [ U ]

also second class uk us

TRANSPORT the normal seats, service, etc., especially on a train:

He was sitting in second class.

COMMUNICATIONS the slower, less expensive service for sending mail:

We use second class for this type of mailing.

Compare

(Definition of “second-class” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)