Definition of second class in English:

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second class


[in singular]
1A set of people or things grouped together as the second best.
Example sentences
  • As a manager, Hoddle has more or less proved himself first class of the second class.
  • Union leaders say it will result in a second class of workers with lower wages and benefits than those at the parent airline.
1.1The second-best accommodations or seating in an aircraft, train, or ship.
Example sentences
  • Not only was I going to travel on my very first train today, I was going to travel second class rather than packed in third class.
  • I couldn't believe how nice second-class was on Japan's private trains.
  • An Inter-Rail ticket entitles you to travel in second class on trains in the zones you've chosen.
1.2British The second-highest division in the results of the examinations for a university degree: he obtained a second class in modern history
More example sentences
  • He was a gentleman and a scholar, having graduated in Harvard University's second class in dentistry in 1870.
  • And only six girls got second class in the tenth - all the others passed in first class.

adjective& adverb

1Of the second-best quality or in the second division: [as adjective]: we will not be relegated to any second-class status
More example sentences
  • Therefore promoters tend to treat local bands like second-class citizens, with quality control no longer a factor.
  • There was no feeling of being second-class citizens or lesser beings.
  • For decades we were second-class citizens in the Soviet Union.
second-rate, second-best, inferior, lesser, unimportant
1.1Relating to the second-best accommodations or seating in an aircraft, train, or ship: [as adjective]: I want second-class tickets [as adverb]: they don’t fly second-class
More example sentences
  • And when she came to see him she also travelled via train with a second-class ticket.
  • This was to put two inches of foam on what passed for ‘reserved sleeper berths’ in the second-class sections of trains.
  • The Bhil women, who clambered into the second-class compartment of a train for the first time, have made a symbolic statement.
1.2Relating to a class of mail having lower priority than first-class mail: [as adjective]: second-class postage stamps
More example sentences
  • During one eight-hour shift last week the reporter saw an estimated 7,000 pieces of first-class mail being handled with second-class post.
  • Last week Postcomm finally approved a 1p rise in first and second-class mail rates from April, worth about £750m a year in extra revenues to Royal Mail.
  • The company has been unable to reach delivery targets for first and second-class mail, partly due to delays caused by the poor state of Britain's rail system.
1.3(In North America) denoting a class of mail that includes newspapers and periodicals.
1.4 [as adjective] British Relating to the second-highest division in a university examination: a respectable second-class degree
More example sentences
  • He had left university with a second-class honours degree after accidentally overdosing on benzedrine.
  • Why are they saying you only took a second-class degree at Oxford?
  • When Ferry got his lower second-class degree in 1968, he applied for a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, who turned him down.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sec·ond class

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