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second string

Sports. the squad of players available either individually or as a team to replace or relieve those who start a game.
a secondary position, status, or group, as in a level of corporate management.
Origin of second string
1635-45 in sense “backup, resort,” alluding to a second bowstring; 1860-65, applied to racehorses; 1950-55, to sports teams
Related forms
second-string, adjective
second-stringer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for second-string
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Driscolls firm for starting with a second-string line, but I dont like it.

    Full-Back Foster Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Any second-string fellow that looks as if he was being held back?

    Quarter-Back Bates Ralph Henry Barbour
  • I suppose Driscoll wants to bring him around for second-string man.

    Center Rush Rowland Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Nor was it the second-string outfit of the Moguls that would come.

    Local Color Irvin S. Cobb
  • He took me from a second-string team and gave me a chance to make good on the Giants.

British Dictionary definitions for second-string

second string

(mainly Brit) an alternative course of action, etc, intended to come into use should the first fail (esp in the phrase a second string to one's bow)
a substitute or reserve player or team
adjective (mainly US & Canadian)
  1. being a substitute player
  2. being the second-ranked player of a team in an individual sport
second-rate or inferior
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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