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second nature

an acquired habit or tendency in one's character that is so deeply ingrained as to appear automatic:
Neatness is second nature to him.
Origin of second nature
1655-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for second-nature
Historical Examples
  • Telling lies is a fault in a boy, an art in a lover, an accomplishment in a bachelor, and second-nature in a married man.

    A Guide to Men Helen Rowland
  • She struck more chords, her fingers finding the keys with the second-nature sureness, learned in her months of dreary practice.

    Rough-Hewn Dorothy Canfield
British Dictionary definitions for second-nature

second nature

a habit, characteristic, etc, not innate but so long practised or acquired as to seem so
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for second-nature

second nature


late 14c., from Latin secundum naturam "according to nature" (Augustine, Macrobius, etc.), literally "following nature;" from medieval Aristotelian philosophy, contrasted to phenomena that were super naturam ("above nature," such as God's grace), extra naturam ("outside nature"), supra naturam ("beyond nature," such as miracles), contra naturam "against nature," etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with second-nature

second nature

A habit or mode of behavior so long practiced that it seems innate, as in Driving in heavy traffic is second nature to Chris. This expression is a shortened form of an ancient proverb, Custom (or usage) is a second nature, first recorded in 1390. It alludes to the fact that very frequently repeating something makes it seem completely natural or inborn.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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