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

  • n. An acquired behavior or trait that is so long practiced as to seem innate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mindset, skill, or type of behavior so ingrained through habit or practice that it seems natural, automatic, or without a basis in conscious thought.

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

  • n. acquired behavior that is practiced so long it seems innate


From the proverb Habit is second nature.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • He had lived all his life in the working - class world, and the CAMARADERIE of labor was second nature with him.

    Chapter 16

  • Most of us, unless accustomed to the niceties of good-breeding, until they have become as of second nature to us, are liable to commit some errors through ignorance of table etiquette, and the following story from the French illustrates the point:

    A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding

  • He was always a Latin rhetor; artifice of style had come to be second nature with him -- even though the Latin scriptures were powerful modifiers of his classical literary patterns.

    Confessions and Enchiridion, newly translated and edited by Albert C. Outler

  • My election to the Bishopric and assignment to South Africa gave the opportunity to gracefully withdraw from a work that had really become second nature ..

    Unwritten History

  • Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with fearful visions.

    Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

  • Need-to-know was second nature with him, said one administration official.

    In the Shadow of the Oval Office

  • She unhooked the communicator from her belt, touched the code-keys with that unthinking flicker of her thumb that becomes second nature to any trooper.


  • This principle, of choosing symbols and icons which express the functions of entities -- or rather, their users 'intended attitudes toward them -- was already second nature to the designers of earliest fast-interaction com - puter systems, namely, the early computer games which were, as Vemor Vinge says, the ancestors of the Other Plane in which the novel's main activities are set.

    True Names

  • Watermen spent their whole lives bobbing about on the river in these precarious little vessels, so keeping their balance under all conditions was second nature to them.


  • In “The Three-Day Blow,” you will find a marvelous portrayal of an impromptu hunt after shooting the breeze with friends at home—hunting appears second nature and just outside your door.

    Hemingway on Hunting


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