from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In music:
  • noun A tone on the next or second diatonic degree above or below a given tone; the next tone in a diatonic series.
  • noun The interval between any tone and a tone on the next degree above or below.
  • noun The harmonic combination of two tones at the interval thus described.
  • noun In a scale, the second tone from the bottom: solmizated re.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Same as secondo.
  • noun pl, That which is of second grade or quality; hence, any inferior or baser matter.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun A coarse kind of fiour, or the bread made from it.
  • noun Acetic acid made from acetate of lime.
  • noun In base-ball, same as second base. See baseball.
  • noun Another; another person; an inferior.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Aid; help; assistance.
  • noun The sixtieth part of a minute.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To follow in the next place; to succeed; to alternate.
  • transitive verb 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 verb (Parliamentary Procedure) to support, as a motion{6} or proposal, by adding one's voice to that of the mover or proposer.
  • noun One who, or that which, follows, or comes after; one next and inferior in place, time, rank, importance, excellence, or power.
  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete Aid; assistance; help.
  • noun An article of merchandise of a grade inferior to the best; esp., a coarse or inferior kind of flour.
  • noun The sixtieth part of a minute of time or of a minute of space, that is, the second regular subdivision of the degree
  • noun In the duodecimal system of mensuration, the twelfth part of an inch or prime; a line. See Inch, and Prime, n., 8.
  • noun The interval between any tone and the tone which is represented on the degree of the staff next above it.
  • noun The second part in a concerted piece; -- often popularly applied to the alto.
  • noun (Parliamentary Procedure) A motion in support of another motion which has been moved in a deliberative body.
  • noun the hand which marks the seconds on the dial of a watch or a clock.
  • adjective Immediately following the first; next to the first in order of place or time; hence, occurring again; another; other.
  • adjective Next to the first in value, power, excellence, dignity, or rank; secondary; subordinate; inferior.
  • adjective Being of the same kind as another that has preceded; another, like a prototype.
  • adjective See Adventist.
  • adjective the child of a cousin.
  • adjective See under File.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta ("second diminished part (of the hour)")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French secont, from Latin secundus ("following, next in order"), from root of sequi ("follow"), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷ- (“to follow”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French seconder, from Latin secundo ("assist, make favorable")


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  • 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 Ontario. Ministry of Education

  • 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

  • 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 K. Rangachari

  • [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 Karl Wilson Gehrkens 1928

  • 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 F. Anstey 1895

  • 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 John Ruskin 1859

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

    Memories of Bethany 1856

  • 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 Charles Boutell 1844

  • 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 James Challis 1842

  • 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 will 2010


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  • 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

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    April 10, 2012

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

    April 10, 2012

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

    April 10, 2012