AskDefine | Define second

Dictionary Definition

second adj
1 coming next after the first in position in space or time or degree or magnitude [syn: 2nd, 2d]
2 coming next after first; "a second chance"; "the second vice president"
3 a part or voice or instrument or orchestra section lower in pitch than or subordinate to the first; "second flute"; "the second violins" [ant: first]
4 having the second highest gear ratio; "second gear"


1 1/60 of a minute; the basic unit of time adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites [syn: sec, s]
2 an indefinitely short time; "wait just a moment"; "it only takes a minute"; "in just a bit" [syn: moment, minute, bit]
3 the fielding position of the player on a baseball team who is stationed near 2nd base [syn: second base]
4 a particular point in time; "the moment he arrived the party began" [syn: moment, minute, instant]
5 following the first in an ordering or series; "he came in a close second"
6 a 60th part of a minute of arc; "the treasure is 2 minutes and 45 seconds south of here" [syn: arcsecond]
7 the official attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match
8 a speech seconding a motion; "do I hear a second?" [syn: secondment, endorsement, indorsement]
9 the gear that has the second lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle; "he had to shift down into second to make the hill" [syn: second gear]
10 merchandise that has imperfections; usually sold at a reduced price without the brand name [syn: irregular] adv : in the second place; "second, we must consider the economy" [syn: secondly]


1 give support or one's approval to; "I'll second that motion"; "I can't back this plan"; "endorse a new project" [syn: back, endorse, indorse]
2 transfer an employee to a different, temporary assignment; "The officer was seconded for duty overseas"

User Contributed Dictionary



From lang=fro.

Alternative forms

Pronunciation 1

  • , /ˈsɛkənd/, /"sEk@nd/
  • Hyphenation: sec·ond


  1. 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.
  2. A unit of angle equal to one-sixtieth of a minute of arc or one part in 3600 of a degree.
  3. A short, indeterminate amount of time.
    I'll be there in a second.
  4. In the context of "usually in the plural": A manufactured item that, though still usable, fails to meet quality control standards.
    They were discounted because they contained blemishes, nicks or were otherwise factory seconds.
  5. 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.
  6. One who agrees in addition, or such a motion, as required in certain meetings to pass judgement etc.
    If we want the motion to pass, we will need a second.
  7. Another chance to achieve what should have been done the first time, usually indicating success this time around. (See second-guess.)
  8. The second gear of an engine.
  9. Second base.
Derived terms
SI unit of time
  • Albanian: sekondë
    Tosk Albanian: sekunde
  • Arabic: ثانية
  • Bosnian: sekunda, sekund
  • CJKV Characters:
  • Catalan: segon
  • Chinese: (miǎo)
  • Croatian: sekunda
  • Czech: vteřina, sekunda
  • Danish: sekund
  • Dutch: seconde
  • Esperanto: sekundo
  • Estonian: sekund
  • Finnish: sekunti
  • French: seconde
  • German: Sekunde
  • Greek: δευτερόλεπτο
  • Hebrew: שניה (shnia)
  • Hungarian: másodperc
  • Icelandic: sekúnda
  • Indonesian: detik, sekon
  • Irish: soicind
  • Italian: secondo
  • Japanese: 秒
  • Korean: (cho)
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: چرکه‌, سانیه
  • Lao: ວິນາທີ
  • Latvian: sekunde
  • Malay: saat, detik
  • Maltese: sekonda
  • Norwegian: sekund
  • Polish: sekunda
  • Portuguese: segundo
  • Russian: секунда
  • Sindhi: (sekondo)
  • Slovene: sekunda
  • Spanish: segundo
  • Swedish: sekund
  • Telugu: సెకండు (sekaMDu), సెకను (sekanu)
  • Thai: (wínaatee)
  • Turkish: saniye
  • Vietnamese: giây
  • Welsh: amrantiad
  • West Frisian: sekonde
unit of angular measure
  • Catalan: segon
  • CJKV Characters:
  • Czech: vteřina, úhlová vteřina
  • Danish: sekund
  • Dutch: seconde
  • Esperanto: sekundo
  • Finnish: kulmasekunti, sekunti
  • French: seconde, seconde d'angle
  • German: Sekunde
  • Hebrew: שניה (shnia)
  • Hungarian: másodperc
  • Indonesian: detik
  • Italian: secondo
  • Japanese: (びょう, byō)
  • Latvian: sekunde
  • Malay: saat
  • Norwegian: sekund
  • Polish: sekunda
  • Portuguese: segundo
  • Russian: секунда
  • Slovene: sekunda
  • Spanish: segundo
  • Swedish: sekund, bågsekund
  • Telugu: సెకండు (sekaMDu), సెకను (sekanu)
  • Thai: (wínaatee)
  • Turkish: saniye
  • Vietnamese: giây (góc)
short, indeterminate amount of time
  • Catalan: segon , moment , instant
  • Czech: okamžik, chvilka, vteřina, sekunda
  • Danish: sekund, øjeblik
  • Dutch: seconde, moment
  • Esperanto: sekundo
  • Finnish: hetki, sekunti
  • French: seconde, instant
  • German: Sekunde, Augenblick, Moment
  • Greek: λεπτό
  • Hebrew: שניה (shnia)
  • Hungarian: másodperc, pillanat
  • Italian: secondo, attimo, momento
  • Maltese: sekonda, dalwaqt
  • Norwegian: sekund, øyeblikk
  • Portuguese: instante, momento, segundo
  • Russian: секунда, момент, миг
  • Slovene: sekunda
  • Spanish: momento
  • Swedish: ögonblick, sekund
  • Telugu: క్షణం (kshaNaM)
  • Thai: (wínaatee)
  • Vietnamese: giây lát, một chốc, một lúc
  • Welsh: amrantiad
  • West Frisian: sekonde efkes
manufactured item that fails to meet quality control standards
attendant of a duel or boxing match standing in for a contestant
  • Czech: sekundant
  • Danish: sekundant
  • Dutch: secondant
  • Finnish: sekundantti, avustaja
  • German: Sekundant
  • Italian: padrino, secondo
  • Japanese: セコンド
  • Norwegian: sekundant
  • Russian: секундант
  • Slovene: sekundant
  • Swedish: sekundant, sekond
  • Vietnamese: (người) phụ tá, người săn sóc
one who agrees in addition
another chance to achieve what should have been done the first time
second gear
  • Finnish: kakkonen, kakkosvaihde
  • Hungarian: második, kettes
  • Spanish: segunda
  • Swedish: tvåan
second base
  • Finnish: kakkospesä, kakkonen


  1. Number-two; following immediately after the first one.
    He lives on Second Street.
    The second book in "The Lord of the Rings" series is called "The Two Towers".
  2. That which comes after the first.
    You take the first one, and I'll have the second.
Alternative forms
second (numeral)
that which comes after the first
See also


  1. To agree as a second person to (a proposal), usually to reach a necessary quorum of two.
    I second the motion.
to agree as a second person

Pronunciation 2

  • , /sɪˈkɒnd/, /"s@kQnd/


  1. Transfer temporarily to alternative employment.
    • 1998 — Paul Leonard, Dreamstone Moon, ch 9
      Daniel had still been surprised, however, to find the lab area deserted, all the scientists apparently seconded by Cleomides's military friends.
Derived terms
temporary transfer of employment

See also

sister disambig


Alternative forms


From secundus; related to sequi.


  • /s(@)go~/, /s(@)go~t/ (with liaison)


  1. Second (ordinal numeral)
  2. alternate



fr-noun m

Extensive Definition

The second (SI symbol: s), sometimes abbreviated sec., is the name of a unit of time, and is the International System of Units (SI) base unit of time.
SI prefixes are frequently combined with the word second to denote subdivisions of the second, e.g., the millisecond (one thousandth of a second) and nanosecond (one billionth of a second). Though SI prefixes may also be used to form multiples of the second (such as “kilosecond,” or one thousand seconds), such units are rarely used in practice. More commonly encountered, non-SI units of time such as the minute, hour, and day increase by multiples of 60 and 24 (rather than by powers of ten as in the SI system).

International second

Under the International System of Units, the second is currently defined as This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K (absolute zero). The ground state is defined at zero magnetic field. The second thus defined is equivalent to the ephemeris second, which was based on astronomical measurements. (See History below.)
The international standard symbol for a second is s (see ISO 31-1)
The realization of the standard second is described briefly in NIST Special Publication 330; Appendix 2, pp. 53 ff, and in detail by National Research Council of Canada.

Equivalence to other units of time

1 international second is equal to:


The Egyptians had subdivided daytime and nighttime into twelve hours each since at least 2000 BC, hence their hours varied seasonally. The Hellenistic astronomers Hipparchus (c. 150 BC) and Ptolemy (c. AD 150) subdivided the day sexagesimally and also used a mean hour ( day), but did not use distinctly named smaller units of time. Instead they used simple fractions of an hour.
The day was subdivided sexagesimally, that is by , by of that, by of that, etc., to at least six places after the sexagesimal point by the Babylonians after 300 BC, but they did not sexagesimally subdivide smaller units of time. For example, six fractional sexagesimal places of a day was used in their specification of the length of the year, although they were unable to measure such a small fraction of a day in real time. As another example, they specified that the mean synodic month was 29;31,50,8,20 days (four fractional sexagesimal positions), which was repeated by Hipparchus and Ptolemy sexagesimally, and is currently the mean synodic month of the Hebrew calendar, though restated as 29 days 12 hours 793 halakim (where 1 hour = 1080 halakim). They did not use the hour, but did use a double-hour, a time-degree lasting four of our minutes, and a barleycorn lasting 3⅓ of our seconds (the helek of the modern Hebrew calendar).
In 1000, the Muslim scholar al-Biruni gave the times of the new moons of specific weeks as a number of days, hours, minutes, seconds, thirds, and fourths after noon Sunday. In 1267, the medieval scientist Roger Bacon stated the times of full moons as a number of hours, minutes, seconds, thirds, and fourths (horae, minuta, secunda, tertia, and quarta) after noon on specified calendar dates. Although a third for of a second remains in some languages, for example Polish (tercja) and Arabic (ثالثة), the modern second is subdivided decimally.
The second first became measurable with the development of pendulum clocks keeping mean time (as opposed to the apparent time displayed by sundials), specifically in 1670 when William Clement added a seconds pendulum to the original pendulum clock of Christian Huygens. The seconds pendulum has a period of two seconds, one second for a swing forward and one second for a swing back, enabling the longcase clock incorporating it to tick seconds. From this time, a second hand that rotated once per minute in a small subdial began to be added to the clock faces of precision clocks.
In 1956 the second was defined in terms of the period of revolution of the Earth around the Sun for a particular epoch, because by then it had become recognized that the Earth's rotation on its own axis was not sufficiently uniform as a standard of time. The Earth's motion was described in Newcomb's Tables of the Sun, which provides a formula for the motion of the Sun at the epoch 1900 based on astronomical observations made between 1750 and 1892. The second thus defined is
the fraction 1/31,556,925.9747 of the tropical year for 1900 January 0 at 12 hours ephemeris time. they determined the orbital motion of the Moon about the Earth, from which the apparent motion of the Sun could be inferred, in terms of time as measured by an atomic clock. As a result, in 1967 the Thirteenth General Conference on Weights and Measures defined the second of atomic time in the International System of Units as
the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom.
The definition of the second was later refined at the 1997 meeting of the BIPM to include the statement
This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K.
The revised definition would seem to imply that the ideal atomic clock would contain a single caesium atom at rest emitting a single frequency. In practice, however, the definition means that high-precision realizations of the second should compensate for the effects of the ambient temperature (black-body radiation) within which atomic clocks operate and extrapolate accordingly to the value of the second as defined above.
For approximately twenty years, it has been possible to confine an ion to a region of space smaller than one cubic micron (10-6 m)3. Such an ion is almost completely isolated from the surrounding environment and suggests a frequency or time standard with a reproducibility and stability several orders of magnitude superior to the best caesium time standards. Such standards are under development. See magneto-optical trap and


It is a common belief that saying one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand... can be used to time events in seconds (one Mississippi, two Mississippi is another common sequence)

SI multiples

SI prefixes are commonly used to measure time less than a second, but rarely for multiples of a second, instead the non-SI units minutes, hours and days are used.


second in Tosk Albanian: Sekunde
second in Arabic: ثانية
second in Official Aramaic (700-300 BCE): ܪܦܦܐ
second in Asturian: Segundu
second in Belarusian: Секунда
second in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Сэкунда (адзінка вымярэньня часу)
second in Bengali: সেকেন্ড
second in Bulgarian: Секунда
second in Catalan: Segon
second in Czech: Sekunda
second in Danish: Sekund
second in German: Sekunde
second in Estonian: Sekund
second in Modern Greek (1453-): Δευτερόλεπτο
second in Spanish: Segundo
second in Esperanto: Sekundo
second in Basque: Segundo
second in Persian: ثانیه
second in French: Seconde (temps)
second in Western Frisian: Sekonde
second in Irish: Soicind
second in Galician: Segundo
second in Korean: 초 (시간)
second in Hindi: सैकण्ड
second in Croatian: Sekunda
second in Indonesian: Detik
second in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Secunda
second in Icelandic: Sekúnda
second in Italian: Secondo
second in Hebrew: שנייה
second in Georgian: წამი
second in Swahili (macrolanguage): Sekunde
second in Haitian: Segonn
second in Latin: Secundum
second in Latvian: Sekunde
second in Luxembourgish: Sekonn
second in Lithuanian: Sekundė
second in Lojban: snidu
second in Hungarian: Másodperc
second in Marathi: सेकंद
second in Malay (macrolanguage): Saat
second in Dutch: Seconde
second in Japanese: 秒
second in Norwegian: Sekund
second in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sekund
second in Occitan (post 1500): Segonda
second in Low German: Sekunn
second in Polish: Sekunda
second in Portuguese: Segundo
second in Kölsch: Sekůndt
second in Romanian: Secundă
second in Quechua: Sikundu
second in Russian: Секунда
second in Albanian: Sekonda
second in Sicilian: Secunnu
second in Simple English: Second
second in Slovak: Sekunda
second in Slovenian: Sekunda
second in Serbian: Секунд
second in Finnish: Sekunti
second in Swedish: Sekund
second in Tamil: நொடி (கால அளவு)
second in Thai: วินาที
second in Vietnamese: Giây
second in Turkish: Saniye
second in Ukrainian: Секунда
second in Yiddish: סעקונדע
second in Chinese: 秒

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

B, Janus-like, Maecenas, OK, abettor, abundant year, academic year, accept, accredit, acolyte, adjutant, admirer, advance, advocate, affirm, aficionado, agent, aid, aide, aide-de-camp, aider, alternate, alternative, ambidextrous, amen, angel, annum, another, apologist, approve, approve of, assign, assist, assistant, attendant, authenticate, authorize, autograph, auxiliary, back, back up, backer, best man, bifacial, bifold, biform, bilateral, binary, binate, biparous, bissextile year, bivalent, breath, buff, calendar month, calendar year, century, certify, champion, coadjutant, coadjutor, coadjutress, coadjutrix, common year, conduplicate, confirm, consecutive intervals, cosign, countersign, coup, crack, day, decade, decennary, decennium, defective, defective year, defender, degree, dependence, deputy, diapason, diatessaron, diatonic interval, diatonic semitone, disomatous, double, double-faced, dual, duple, duplex, duplicate, encourage, encourager, endorse, endorser, enharmonic diesis, enharmonic interval, espouse, executive officer, exponent, fan, favor, favorer, fifth, fiscal year, flash, following, fortnight, fourth, friend at court, geminate, geminated, get behind, get in behind, girl Friday, give permission, give the go-ahead, give the imprimatur, give thumbs up, go along with, half a jiffy, half a mo, half a second, half a shake, half step, halftone, help, helper, helpmate, helpmeet, hour, initial, instant, interval, irregular, jiff, jiffy, later, leap year, less semitone, lieutenant, lover, lunar month, lunar year, lunation, luster, lustrum, mainstay, maintainer, man Friday, man-hour, melodic interval, microsecond, millennium, millisecond, minute, moment, month, moon, move, newer, next, notarize, note, number two, octave, other, parallel octaves, paranymph, paraprofessional, partisan, pass, pass on, pass upon, patron, patronize, permit, promote, promoter, protagonist, quarter, quinquennium, ratify, regular year, reliance, relocate, right hand, rubber stamp, run interference for, sanction, say amen to, schlock, schmatte, seal, sec, second-best, secondarily, secondary, seconder, secondly, sectary, semester, semitone, servant, session, seventh, shake, shift, side with, sideman, sider, sidereal year, sign, sign and seal, sixth, solar year, split second, sponsor, stalwart, stand back of, stand behind, stand by, stand-in, standby, step, stick by, stick up for, stroke, subordinate, subscribe to, subsequent, substitute, sun, support, supporter, supporting actor, supporting instrumentalist, surrogate, sustainer, swear and affirm, swear to, sympathizer, take sides with, term, third, tick, tone, transfer, trice, trimester, twelvemonth, twin, twink, twinkle, twinkling, twinned, twitch, two shakes, two-faced, two-level, two-ply, two-sided, two-story, twofold, undersign, understudy, underwrite, unison interval, upholder, validate, visa, vise, votary, warrant, week, weekday, well-wisher, whole step, wink, year, younger
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