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Alternative formsEdit


second hand (not comparable)

  1. Alternative form of secondhand

Usage notesEdit

  • secondhand and second-hand may be preferred spellings for the adjective meaning "not new", to avoid confusion with the noun "second hand" referring to the hand of a clock or watch.

Related termsEdit



second hand (plural second hands)

  1. On a clock or watch, the hand or pointer that shows the number of seconds that have passed.
  2. An intermediate person or means; intermediary.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Walter Scott, editor, Memoirs of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin[1], page 135:
      “My Lord Oxford, by a second hand, proposed my being his chaplain, which I, by a second hand, excused.
    • 1832, James Sheridan Knowles, The Magdalen, and other tales[2], page 3:
      Under certain circumstances there is always a danger in a young man's playing the benefactor towards the other sex, in his own person. A thousand times better do it by a second hand — engage the services of some kind aunt or female cousin.

Derived termsEdit