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second


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The ordinal number constituting number two in a sequence, coming after the first in time or order. The word comes (in Middle English, via Old French) from Latin secundus ‘following, second’, from the base of sequi ‘follow’.

it's the second mouse that gets the cheese modern extension of the early bird catches the worm, suggesting the dangers of being the first to make a venture, and the possible benefits of following directly behind a pioneer.

second Adam in Christian thought, Jesus Christ, with reference to 1 Corinthians 15:45; the actual phrase second Adam is first recorded in a marginal gloss on this passage from the Geneva Bible (1587).

second bite at the cherry another attempt or opportunity to do something; a cherry as the type of something to be consumed in a single bite (in original proverbial use, to take two bites at the cherry indicated a person's behaving with affected nicety).

Second Coming (also known as the Second Advent) the prophesied return of Christ to Earth at the Last Judgement; the term itself is recorded from the late 16th century.

Second Empire the imperial government in France of Napoleon III, 1852–70. The Second Republic was the republican regime in France from the deposition of King Louis Philippe (1848) to the beginning of the Second Empire (1852).

second sight the supposed ability to perceive future or distant events; clairvoyance. Reports of the faculty (recorded from the early 17th century) have traditionally been much associated with those of Scottish ancestry.

Second World the former communist block consisting of the Soviet Union and some countries in eastern Europe.

Second World War a war (1939–45) in which the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) were defeated by an alliance eventually including the United Kingdom and its dominions, the Soviet Union, and the United States.

See also second banana, second cousin, play second fiddle, have a second string to one's bow.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.


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