WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
ˈsec•ond ˈstring, n. [countable]
  • Sportthe squad of players available to replace or relieve those who start a game.
  • sec•ond--string•er, n. [countable]

    WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
    second string, 
    1. Sportthe squad of players available either individually or as a team to replace or relieve those who start a game.
    2. a secondary position, status, or group, as in a level of corporate management.
    [1635–45 in sense "backup, resort,'' alluding to a second bowstring;
    1860–65, applied to racehorses;
    1950–55, to sports teams]
    second-string, adj. 
    second-stringer, n. 

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
    second string n
    1. chiefly 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)
    adj second-string chiefly US Canadian
    1. being a substitute player
    'second string' also found in these entries:
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