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second-rate (plural second-rates)

  1. (military, nautical, historical) a British ship-of-the-line sail warship having 90 to 98 guns dispersed on three gundecks.


second-rate (comparative more second-rate, superlative most second-rate)

  1. Of mediocre quality; not first class.
    • 1971, Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150—750, Thames & Hudson LTD (2013 reprint), →ISBN, page 53.
      ‘Revelation’, to a philosopher such as Plotinus, was not merely irrational: it led to second-rate counterfeits of traditional academic philosophical culture. It was as if the inhabitants of an underdeveloped country were to seek to catch up with western technology by claiming to have learnt nuclear physics through dreams and oracles.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, A Second-rate Woman
      They are intrigued by Mrs Deelville; she is dowdy, languid-voiced, and ill-dressed, in every way appearing second-rate, who nonetheless - rather tiresomely - seems to have the knack of attracting men.


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