Definition of secondhand in English:


Syllabification: sec·ond·hand
Pronunciation: /ˈsekən(d)ˈhand


  • 1(Of goods) having had a previous owner; not new: a secondhand car
    More example sentences
    • The home was furnished with second-hand goods and the children had hand-me down clothes although they always had shoes from Clarks.
    • When this first began 15 years ago, the toys received were often of fairly poor quality; second-hand goods ready to be thrown out.
    • Most of the items are in good enough condition, considering that they are second-hand goods.
    used, old, worn, preowned, handed-down, hand-me-down, castoff
    informal preloved
  • 1.1 [attributive] Denoting a store or shop where previously owned goods can be bought: a secondhand bookstore
    More example sentences
    • I'm looking forward to miles of walking along the water and I love browsing through the second-hand stores and thrift shops in the area.
    • Keep an eye out for it in second-hand shops and book sales.
    • Actual dance costumes, complete with glitter and sequins, often end up in second-hand shops.
  • 2(Of information or experience) accepted on another’s authority and not from original investigation: secondhand knowledge of her country
    More example sentences
    • A poet must experience, rather than simulate reality or rely on second-hand information.
    • Mind you that salt should be taken, as second-hand information and college statistics might not be enough.
    • So it's really kind of an assessment of second-hand information, you know?
    indirect, derivative; vicarious


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  • 1On the basis that something has had a previous owner: tips on the pitfalls to avoid when buying secondhand
    More example sentences
    • The biggest-selling MPVs in the UK are the Citroën Picasso and Renault Mégane Scénic, both of which can be bought second-hand for well within your budget.
    • The van was bought second-hand for £3,000, two years ago.
    • The vehicle was bought second-hand in 1997 by islanders but withdrawn from service three months ago when a door was damaged.
  • 2On the basis of what others have said; indirectly: I was discounting anything I heard secondhand
    More example sentences
    • The hospitality I received cannot be experienced second-hand.
    • I'm very mistrustful about it, because just everyone knows that when you get things second-hand, the problems that there are in the translation are great.
    • The challenge of science is to overcome the constraints of our neurological wetware and understand a physical world that we know only second-hand and incompletely.


at second hand

By hearsay rather than direct observation or experience.
More example sentences
  • The palace consequently represents an injection of French Renaissance aesthetic taken pure and from the source, rather than mediated at second hand through the observations of visitors.
  • Newman's fans among critics are either people who knew him well, worked with him, or other people who have had the experience at second hand through what these critics have written.
  • She had grown tired of experiencing life at second hand.

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