What is the difference between first and second?

first | second |


As adjectives the difference between first and second

is that first is having no predecessor the ordinal number corresponding to one while second is the ordinal number corresponding to the cardinal number two.

As nouns the difference between first and second

is that first is (uncountable) the person or thing in the first position or first can be (obsolete) time; time granted; respite while second is (usually in the plural) a manufactured item that, though still usable, fails to meet quality control standards or second can be 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 or second can be 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.

As a adverb first

is before anything else; firstly.

As a verb second is

(uk) to transfer temporarily to alternative employment.

first

English

(wikipedia first)

Etymology 1

From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) (m), .

Alternative forms

* firste (archaic) * fyrst (obsolete) * fyrste (obsolete)

Adjective

(-)
  • Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Yesterday’s fuel , passage=The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).}}
  • Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.
  • * 1784 : William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c. , PREFACE
  • THE favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Per?ons of the fir?t di?tinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ?everal new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and di?tingui?h it from others; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
    Alternative forms
    * ; (in names of monarchs and popes) I

    Adverb

    (-)
  • Before anything else; firstly.
  • * , chapter=8
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients , passage=That concertina was a wonder in its way. The handles that was on it first was wore out long ago, and he'd made new ones of braided rope yarn. And the bellows was patched in more places than a cranberry picker's overalls.}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-29, volume=407, issue=8842, page=29, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Unspontaneous combustion , passage=Since the mid-1980s, when Indonesia first began to clear its bountiful forests on an industrial scale in favour of lucrative palm-oil plantations, “haze” has become an almost annual occurrence in South-East Asia.}}

    Noun

  • (uncountable) The person or thing in the first position.
  • * 1699 , , Heads designed for an essay on conversations
  • Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
  • (uncountable) The first gear of an engine.
  • (countable) Something that has never happened before; a new occurrence.
  • (countable, baseball) first base
  • (countable, British, colloquial) A first-class honours degree.
  • (countable, colloquial) A first-edition copy of some publication.
  • A fraction of an integer ending in one.
  • Derived terms

    * feet first * firstborn * first-class * first gear * first imperative (Latin grammar) * first of all * first place * first things first * first up

    See also

    * primary

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) (m), (m), . See also (l).

    Noun

    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) Time; time granted; respite.
  • Statistics

    *

    second

    English

    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) second, from (etyl) .

    Adjective

    (-)
  • Number-two; following after the first one with nothing between them. The ordinal number corresponding to the cardinal number two.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=20 citation , passage=The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen.
  • Next to the first in value, power, excellence, dignity, or rank; secondary; subordinate; inferior.
  • * Landor
  • May the day when we become the second people upon earth be the day of our utter extirpation.
  • Being of the same kind as one that has preceded; another.
  • * Shakespeare
  • A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
    Alternative forms
    * (number-two) , IInd; (in names of monarchs and popes) II
    Synonyms
    * (nonstandard) (l)
    Derived terms
    * secondary * second amendment * second base * second baseman * second-best * second cousin * second fiddle * second-guess * second hand * second imperative (Latin grammar) * second-in-command * second nature * second-storey man

    Adverb

    (-)
  • (with superlative) At the second rank.
  • Saturn is the second largest planet.
  • After the first occurrence but before the third occurrence.
  • He is batting second today.

    Noun

    (en noun)
  • One that is number two in a series.
  • One that is next in rank, quality, precedence, position, status, or authority.
  • The place that is next below first in a race or contest.
  • (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 .
  • (usually in the plural) An additional helping of food.
  • That was good barbecue. I hope I can get seconds .
  • A chance or attempt to achieve what should have been done the first time, usually indicating success this time around. (See second-guess.)
  • * 2003 , Sheila Ryan Wallace, The Sea Captain and His Ladies , page 22:
  • *:The policeman smiled, his eyes twinkling. "Now if you'll follow me, I'll escort you to the Victoria."
    "Oh, there's no need of that. If you'll just point me in the right direction..."
    That's what got you in trouble the first time around. You don't need a second .
  • *2009 , Paulette Jiles, Stormy Weather , page 37:
  • *:Smoky Joe ran against a Houston horse named Cherokee Chief.
    “Don't hit him,” Jeanine said to the jockey. “Maybe once. But you don't get a second .”
  • * 2011 , Karen Miller, The Innocent Mage :
  • I'll have one chance to show them that's no longer true. One chance ... and if I stumble, I'll not get a second .
  • (music) The interval between two adjacent notes in a diatonic scale (either or both of them may be raised or lowered from the basic scale via any type of accidental).
  • The second gear of an engine.
  • (baseball) Second base.
  • Etymology 2

    From (etyl)

    Alternative forms

    * (SI unit of time) (abbreviations) s, sec; (symbols) s (SI and non-scientific usage), sec (in non-scientific usage only) * (unit of angle) (abbreviations) arcsec,

    Noun

    (en noun)
  • 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.
  • A unit of angle equal to one-sixtieth of a minute of arc or one part in 3600 of a degree.
  • A short, indeterminate amount of time.
  • I'll be there in a second .
    Synonyms
    * (unit of angle) second of arc, arcsecond * (colloquial) sec *
    Derived terms
    * leap second * millisecond * nanosecond

    Etymology 3

    From (etyl)

    Verb

    (en verb)
  • (UK) To transfer temporarily to alternative employment.
  • * 1998 — , (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.
  • To assist or support; to back.
  • * Shakespeare
  • We have supplies to second our attempt.
  • * Alexander Pope
  • In human works though laboured on with pain, / A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain; / In God's, one single can its end produce, / Yet serves to second too some other use.
  • To agree as a second person to (a proposal), usually to reach a necessary quorum of two.
  • I second the motion.
  • To follow in the next place; to succeed.
  • * Fuller
  • In the method of nature, a low valley is immediately seconded with an ambitious hill.
  • * South
  • Sin is seconded with sin.
  • To climb after a lead climber.
  • Derived terms
    * secondment * secondee

    Noun

    (en noun)
  • One who supports another in a contest or combat, such as a dueller's assistant.
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • 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 .
  • (obsolete) Aid; assistance; help.
  • * J. Fletcher
  • Give second , and my love / Is everlasting thine.