Meaning of SECOND in English


I. sec ‧ ond 1 S1 W1 /ˈsekənd/ BrE AmE number

1 . the second person, thing, event etc is the one that comes after the first:

the Second World War

the second of August

a second year student

his second wife

Clinton’s second term in office

the second half of the year

the second time in three days

2 . the position in a competition or scale that comes after the one that is the best, most successful etc:

She won second prize.

They climbed to second place in the League.

second largest/most successful etc

Africa’s second highest mountain

be second only to something (=used to emphasize that something is nearly the largest, most important etc)

The euro will have a circulation second only to that of the dollar.

3 . another example of the same thing, or another in addition to the one you have:

We advertised for a second guitarist.

There was a second reason for his dismissal.

I asked the doctor for a second opinion (=when you ask another person to repeat an examination, test etc for you) .

4 . every second year/person/thing etc

a) the second, then the fourth, then the sixth year etc:

The nurse comes every second day.

b) used to emphasize that, in a group of similar things, there is too much of one particular thing:

Every second house seemed to be boarded up.

5 . be second to none to be the best:

The quality of Britain’s overseas aid programme is second to none.

6 . second chance help given to someone who has failed, in the hope that they will succeed this time:

I just want to give these kids a second chance.

7 . have second thoughts to start having doubts about a decision you have made:

You’re not having second thoughts, are you?

have second thoughts about

She’d had second thoughts about the whole project.

8 . on second thoughts British English , on second thought American English spoken used to say that you have changed your mind about something:

I’ll call her tomorrow – no, on second thought, I’ll try now.

9 . not give something a second thought/without a second thought used to say that someone does not think or worry about something:

She dismissed the rumour without a second thought.

10 . not give something a second glance/look ( also without a second glance/look ) to not look at something again, because you have not really noticed it or because it does not seem important:

No one gave the woman in the grey uniform a second glance.

11 . be/become second nature (to somebody) something that is second nature to you is something you have done so often that you do it almost without thinking:

Driving becomes second nature after a while.

12 . second wind a new feeling of energy after you have been working or exercising very hard, and had thought you were too tired to continue:

He got his second wind and ran on.

II. second 2 S1 W2 BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1-3, 5: Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Medieval Latin ; Origin: secunda , from secunda pars minuta 'second small part, one sixtieth of a minute' , from Latin secundus ; ⇨ ↑ second 2 ]

1 . [countable] a unit for measuring time. There are 60 seconds in a minute:

Hold your breath for six seconds.

The operation takes only 30 seconds.

Ultrasonic waves travel at around 300 metres per second.

within seconds (=after only a few seconds)

Within seconds, Bev called back.

2 . [countable] a very short period of time:

I’ll be back in a second.

Just a second (=wait a moment) , I’ll come and help.

At least 30 shots were fired in a matter of seconds (=in a very short time) .

⇨ ↑ split second

3 . (at) any second (now) used to say that something will or may happen extremely soon:

He should be here any second.

4 . seconds [plural]

a) informal another serving of food, after you have eaten your first serving

b) clothes or other goods that are cheaper than usual because they are not perfect ⇨ ↑ second hand 1

5 . [countable] technical one of the 60 parts into which a ↑ minute of an angle is divided. It can be shown as a symbol after a number. For example, 78° 52′ 11″ means 78 degrees 52 minutes 11 seconds.

6 . [countable] someone who helps someone in a fight, especially in ↑ boxing or, in the past, a ↑ duel

7 . [uncountable] American English informal ↑ second base

III. second 3 /ˈsekənd/ BrE AmE adverb

1 . [sentence adverb] used before you add information to what you have already said SYN secondly

2 . next after the first one

come/finish etc second

I came second in the UK championships.

Tea is the most popular drink, while coffee ranks (=comes) second.

IV. second 4 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

to formally support a suggestion made by another person in a meeting ⇨ propose

second a motion/proposal/amendment etc

V. se ‧ cond 5 /sɪˈkɒnd $ -ˈkɑːnd/ BrE AmE verb [transitive usually passive] British English

to send someone to do someone else’s job for a short time

be seconded to something

Jill’s been seconded to the marketing department while Dave’s away.

⇨ ↑ secondment

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.