Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of time equal to one sixtieth of a minute.
  • n. The time needed for a cesium-133 atom to perform 9,192,631,770 complete oscillations. See Table at measurement.
  • n. A brief interval of time; a moment. See Synonyms at moment.
  • n. Mathematics A unit of angular measure equal to one sixtieth of a minute.
  • adj. Coming next after the first in order, place, rank, time, or quality.
  • adj. Repeating an initial instance: a second chance.
  • adj. Reminiscent of one that is well known: a second George Washington; a second Waterloo.
  • adj. Alternate; other: every second year.
  • adj. Inferior to another; subordinate: second vice president at the bank; a leader second to none.
  • adj. Music Having a lower pitch.
  • adj. Music Singing or playing a part having a lower range.
  • adj. Having the second-highest ratio. Used of gears in a sequence.
  • n. The ordinal number matching the number 2 in a series.
  • n. One of two equal parts.
  • n. One that is next in order, place, time, or quality after the first.
  • n. An article of merchandise of inferior quality. Often used in the plural.
  • n. The official attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match. See Synonyms at assistant.
  • n. Music The interval between consecutive tones on the diatonic scale.
  • n. Music A tone separated by this interval from another tone.
  • n. Music A combination of two such tones in notation or in harmony.
  • n. Music The second part, instrument, or voice in a harmonized composition.
  • n. An utterance of endorsement, as to a parliamentary motion.
  • n. The transmission gear or gear ratio used to produce forward speeds higher than those of first and lower than those of third in a motor vehicle.
  • n. Informal A second serving of food.
  • n. Baseball Second base.
  • transitive v. To attend (a duelist or a boxer) as an aide or assistant.
  • transitive v. To promote or encourage; reinforce.
  • transitive v. To endorse (a motion or nomination) as a required preliminary to discussion or vote.
  • transitive v. Chiefly British To transfer (a military officer, for example) temporarily.
  • adv. In the second order, place, or rank: finished second.
  • adv. But for one other; save one: the second highest peak.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. The ordinal number corresponding to the cardinal number two.
  • adj. Number-two; following immediately after the first one.
  • adj. That which comes after the first.
  • n. A manufactured item that, though still usable, fails to meet quality control standards.
  • n. An additional helping of food.
  • n. Another chance to achieve what should have been done the first time, usually indicating success this time around. (See second-guess.)
  • n. The interval between two adjacent notes in a diatonic scale (either or both of them may be raised or lowered from the basic scale via any type of accidental).
  • n. The second gear of an engine.
  • n. Second base.
  • n. A dueller's assistant.
  • n. The SI unit of time, defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of caesium-133 in a ground state at a temperature of absolute zero and at rest; one-sixtieth of a minute.
  • n. A unit of angle equal to one-sixtieth of a minute of arc or one part in 3600 of a degree.
  • n. A short, indeterminate amount of time.
  • v. Transfer temporarily to alternative employment.
  • v. To assist.
  • v. To agree as a second person to (a proposal), usually to reach a necessary quorum of two.
  • n. The attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match, who must be ready to take over if the contestant drops out. In the case of a duel, the seconds may also fight each other at 90° to the other contestants.
  • n. One who agrees in addition, or such a motion, as required in certain meetings to pass judgement etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Immediately following the first; next to the first in order of place or time; hence, occurring again; another; other.
  • adj. Next to the first in value, power, excellence, dignity, or rank; secondary; subordinate; inferior.
  • adj. Being of the same kind as another that has preceded; another, like a prototype.
  • n. One who, or that which, follows, or comes after; one next and inferior in place, time, rank, importance, excellence, or power.
  • n. One who follows or attends another for his support and aid; a backer; an assistant; specifically, one who acts as another's aid in a duel.
  • n. Aid; assistance; help.
  • n. An article of merchandise of a grade inferior to the best; esp., a coarse or inferior kind of flour.
  • n. The sixtieth part of a minute of time or of a minute of space, that is, the second regular subdivision of the degree
  • n. In the duodecimal system of mensuration, the twelfth part of an inch or prime; a line. See Inch, and Prime, n., 8.
  • n.
  • n. The interval between any tone and the tone which is represented on the degree of the staff next above it.
  • n. The second part in a concerted piece; -- often popularly applied to the alto.
  • n. A motion in support of another motion which has been moved in a deliberative body.
  • transitive v. To follow in the next place; to succeed; to alternate.
  • transitive v. To follow or attend for the purpose of assisting; to support; to back; to act as the second of; to assist; to forward; to encourage.
  • transitive v. to support, as a motion{6} or proposal, by adding one's voice to that of the mover or proposer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Next after the first in order, place, time, rank, value, quality, etc.: an ordinal numeral: as, the second day of the month; the second volume of a book; the second auditor of the treasury; the second table of the law.
  • Secondary; not primary; subordinate; in music, lower in pitch, or rendering a part lower in pitch: as, second fiddle; second soprano.
  • Other; another: as, a second Daniel; his second self.
  • Favorable; helpful; aiding or disposed to aid.
  • In mathematics, noting a function derived from the performance of the same operation twice in succession: thus, the second difference is the difference of the difference; so second differentials, derivatives, differential coefficients, etc.
  • In the two-handed sword, or spadone, a pair of hooks or projections slightly curved toward the point. forged with the blade itself, and separating the heel from the sharpened part of the blade. See spadone.
  • In rapiers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the outer defense beyond the Cross-guard, formed of a ring surrounding the blade, a cross, pair of shells, or the like.
  • n. The one next after the first in order, place, time, rank, value, quality, or importance; that one of any two considered relatively which follows or comes immediately after the other.
  • n. In music:
  • n. A tone on the next or second diatonic degree above or below a given tone; the next tone in a diatonic series.
  • n. The interval between any tone and a tone on the next degree above or below.
  • n. The harmonic combination of two tones at the interval thus described.
  • n. In a scale, the second tone from the bottom: solmizated re.
  • n. A second voice or instrument—that is, one whose part is subordinate to or lower than another of the same kind; specifically, a second violin or second soprano; popularly, an alto.
  • n. Same as secondo.
  • n. pl, That which is of second grade or quality; hence, any inferior or baser matter.
  • n. Specifically
  • n. A coarse kind of fiour, or the bread made from it.
  • n. Acetic acid made from acetate of lime.
  • n. In base-ball, same as second base. See baseball.
  • n. Another; another person; an inferior.
  • n. One who assists and supports another; specifically, one who attends a principal in a duel or a pugilistic encounter, to advise or aid him, and see that all proceedings between the combatants are fair, and in accordance with the rules laid down for the duel or the prizering.
  • n. Aid; help; assistance.
  • To follow up; supplement.
  • To support; aid; forward; promote; back, or back up; specifically, to assist in a duel.
  • In music, to sing second to.
  • In legislative and deliberative bodies, public meetings, etc., formally to express approval and support of (a motion, amendment, or proposal), as a preliminary to further discussion or to formal adoption.
  • In the British Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, to put into temporary retirement, as an officer when he accepts civil employment under the crown.
  • n. The sixtieth part of a minute.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. a part or voice or instrument or orchestra section lower in pitch than or subordinate to the first
  • n. a speech seconding a motion
  • v. transfer an employee to a different, temporary assignment
  • n. 1/60 of a minute; the basic unit of time adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites
  • adv. in the second place
  • adj. coming next after the first in position in space or time or degree or magnitude
  • n. the official attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match
  • n. following the first in an ordering or series
  • v. give support or one's approval to
  • n. the gear that has the second lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle
  • n. a particular point in time
  • n. merchandise that has imperfections; usually sold at a reduced price without the brand name
  • n. a 60th part of a minute of arc
  • n. the fielding position of the player on a baseball team who is stationed near the second of the bases in the infield
  • n. an indefinitely short time

Etymologies

Middle English seconde, from Old French, from Medieval Latin (pars minūta) secunda, second (small part), feminine of Latin secundus, second, following.
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin secundus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French secont, from Latin secundus ("following, next in order"), from root of sequi ("follow"), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷ- (“to follow”). (Wiktionary)
From Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta ("second diminished part (of the hour)") (Wiktionary)
From Middle French seconder, from Latin secundo ("assist, make favorable") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The _first two glumes_ are membranous, ovate-oblong, glabrous, acuminate and shortly awned, the _first glume_ is shorter than the second, 1 - to 3-nerved, the _second glume_ is longer than the first,

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • And so with all other brave and rightly-trained men; their work is first, their fee second -- very important always, but still _second_.

    The Ontario Readers: Fourth Book

  • To prepare the ribs for sale, they are usually cut into pieces that contain two ribs, the first and second ribs being known as the first cut, the third and fourth as _the second_ cut, etc.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 3: Soup; Meat; Poultry and Game; Fish and Shell Fish

  • [Footnote 15: The step-and-a-half (augmented second) is "unmelodic" because it is the same size as a _minor third_ and the mind finds it difficult to take in as a _second_ (notes representing it being on adjacent staff-degrees) an interval of the same size as a third.] 1 whole 2 half 3 whole 4 whole 5 whole 6 whole 7 half 8 step step step step step step step

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • If "Sweet Bells" had come first, and "Illusion" second, you would have seen this sad falling off in the _second_ book.

    The Giant's Robe

  • And so with all other brave and rightly trained men; their work is first, their fee second -- very important always, but still _second_.

    The Crown of Wild Olive also Munera Pulveris; Pre-Raphaelitism; Aratra Pentelici; The Ethics of the Dust; Fiction, Fair and Foul; The Elements of Drawing

  • And as His _first_ coming was terminated by His Ascension, so will there be a second Ascension at His _second_

    Memories of Bethany

  • Thus, if the tincture of the field should occur a second time, reference is made to it in the formula -- “_of the field_:” or, perhaps more frequently -- “_of the first_;” or, if the tincture that is named second in order in the blazoning be repeated, it is indicated by the expression -- “_of the second_;” and so on.

    The Handbook to English Heraldry

  • Although Scripture speaks of a first resurrection and a second death, it makes no mention of a _second resurrection_.

    An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality

  • Does anyone believe for a second that baidu, etc. won't mutate into ad-infested pay-for-ranking "services" the * second* that Google ceases to offer its clean, fast, technologically superior template?

    Imagethief

Comments

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  • Uh-oh. Is there a duel in the works? *looks around for a second*

    April 10, 2012

  • Then our work here is done. *evil laugh*

    April 10, 2012

  • You guys just made me say "second drug test" like 16 times.

    April 10, 2012

  • A lot depends on what sound precedes the final d of a word. If you, pterodactyl, analyse the phrase reduplicated second sight you may notice a difference between the d/s sequences when enunciated. I find that the first d is present, reinforced by the preceding t; the second disappears.

    April 9, 2012

  • Speaking of flour typos, check out this definition for second from the Century: "n. A coarse kind of fiour, or the bread made from it."

    (See comments on spelt.)

    April 9, 2012

  • Interesting! If I heard someone say "second rug test", and pronounce the D, I would almost certainly mishear it as "second drug test". I'm so used to not hearing a D in "second" that my brain would automatically assume that the D is part of the following word.

    April 8, 2012

  • "If you try pronouncing the word with a final d, it sounds wrong."
    - depends on your dialect. In Australian English it sounds a little heavy if fully voiced, but I wouldn't say wrong.

    Words are rarely pronounced in isolation. I would strictly pronounce the final d in a phrase like second drug test becuase I wouldn't like it to sound like second rug test.

    April 8, 2012

  • I've been saying this word for years, but I've only just now realized how bizarre its pronunciation is.

    The issue is the final consonant. The word is spelled with a final D, but it's not pronounced with a final [d]. If you try pronouncing the word with a final [d], it sounds wrong.

    At first I assumed that the final consonant was a [t], as part of a "-NT" ending. But Ts are articulated with the tip of the tongue, and when I say "second", my tongue only articulates the N. I mean, [n] and [t] are both alveolar consonants, but when I say "second", my tongue goes up to the alveolar ridge just once, for the [n], and just kinda stops there.

    So, then I started thinking that maybe the "d" was just totally silent, and that the word is pronounced to end on the [n]. But that's clearly wrong, because if you try pronouncing "secon", it sounds different, and easily distinguishable from "second".

    I hesitate to even suggest this, because it sounds so weird, but I'm starting to think that the final consonant in "second" is an [n] and a [ʔ] (a glottal stop) pronounced simultaneously.

    What do you guys think?

    April 7, 2012