Meaning of “second” in the English Dictionary

"second" in British English

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secondordinal number, determiner

uk /ˈsek.ənd/ us /ˈsek.ənd/

A1 immediately after the first and before any others:

Is Carla her first or second child?
This is the second time I've had flu this winter.
Today is the second (of March).

A1 the position in which a person finishes a race or competition if they finish immediately behind the winner:

First prize is two weeks in Barbados and second prize is a weekend in Rome.
Jones took second place in the long jump.

B1 Second is used to show that only one thing is better, bigger, etc. than the thing mentioned:

St Petersburg is Russia's second (biggest/largest) city.
Iraq's oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's.

B1 another:

She is often described as a second Marilyn Monroe.
You really should make the most of the opportunity, because you won't get a second chance.
Richard and Liz have a second home in the mountains.
Pay attention to what she's saying because she won't explain it a second time.

happening only once out of every two possible times:

We've decided to hold the conference every second year.

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uk /ˈsek.ənd/ us /ˈsek.ənd/

B1 after the first and before any others:

Robertson won the race and Cameron was/came/finished second.
In this business, money comes first and principles come a very poor second (= they are much less important).

B2 also secondly used to introduce the second thing in a list of things you want to say or write:

There are two good reasons why we can't do it. First, we can't afford it, and second, we don't have time.


uk /ˈsek.ənd/ us /ˈsek.ənd/

second noun (TIME)

A2 [ C ] abbreviation sec., s a short unit of time that is equal to a 60th of a minute:

There are 60 seconds in a minute.
These computers process millions of instructions per second.
The new system can trace a phone call in a fraction of a second.

B1 [ C ] a very short period of time:

"Come on, hurry up!" "I'll just/only be a second - I need to close the window."
Do you have a second, Paul? I need to talk to you.
It won't take a second (= it will be very quick).
Wait a couple of/a few seconds before trying again.
the second (that)

as soon as :

The second I saw him, I knew he was going to be a star.

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second noun (POSITION)

[ S ] the second person or thing to do or be something, or the second person or thing mentioned:

This is the second of the four tests.
seconds [ plural ] informal

an extra amount of food that is given after the first amount has been eaten:

Would anyone like seconds of ice cream?

second noun (QUALIFICATION)

[ C ] UK also second-class degree an undergraduate degree from a university in the UK and some other countries that is a good degree but not the best possible

second noun (BASEBALL)

secondverb [ T ]

uk /ˈsek.ənd/ us /ˈsek.ənd/
noun [ C ] uk /ˈsek.ən.dər/ us /ˈsek.ən.dɚ/ specialized

There was no seconder for (= person who was willing to support) the motion so it could not be debated.

secondverb [ T ]

uk /sɪˈkɒnd/ us /səˈkɑːnd/ UK

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

"second" in American English

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secondadjective, adverb, noun [ C ]

us /ˈsek·ənd/

second adjective, adverb, noun [ C ] (POSITION)

(a person or thing) coming immediately after the first:

He missed only 2 of 11 shots in the second half.
[ C ] Rent is due the second of every month.
adverb [ not gradable ] us /ˈsek·ənd·li/ also second

First, what does it cost? And secondly, who’s it for?

secondnoun [ C ]

us /ˈsek·ənd/ short form sec

second noun [ C ] (TIME)

any of the 60 parts that a minute is divided into:

She won by 22 seconds.

A second is also any short period of time:

I’ll be back in a second.

secondverb [ T ]

us /ˈsek·ənd/

second verb [ T ] (SUPPORT)

to make a formal statement of support for a suggestion made by someone else during a meeting in order to allow a discussion or vote:

I second the motion to adjourn.

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

"second" in Business English

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secondnoun [ C, usually plural ]

uk /ˈsekənd/

COMMERCE a product that is sold at a lower price than usual because it is damaged or not in perfect condition:

Many goods in sales are seconds.

/sɪˈkɒnd/ HR, WORKPLACE to send an employee to work somewhere else temporarily, either to increase the number of workers there, to replace another worker, or to exchange experiences or skills:

be seconded to sth She was seconded to our department five months ago.
See also

/ˈsekənd/ MEETINGS to make a formal statement of support for a suggestion made by someone else during a meeting so that there can be a discussion or vote:

second a motion The motion was proposed by the secretary and seconded by the treasurer.

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