I Second That - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to reinforce confirmation of another person's ideas? If so, you could always use the phrase, "I second that." It's a common phrase used in the boardroom and in parliament, and you might even use it when talking to your friends.

You probably hear this idiom used all the time in social and professional settings, but what does it really mean? This post unpacks everything you need to know about this idiom's meaning, origin, and use.

I Second That Meaning

"I second that" is a common idiom in modern language. You'll use the phrase when confirming what another person has to say.

Typically, the phrase appears in a politically or socially-based democratic system, where people need to vote on the merits of a particular proposal. The person making the proposal will wait for confirmation of support by his or her peers through the use of the idiomatic phrase.

You'll use the phrase to support what the person has to say, making a motion for the rest of the group at the meeting to confirm their support. In some cases, the second may not state the use of the phrase in support of the person's motion but rather in an effort to agree that it merits further discussion.

I Second That Example Usage

George: "I think we need to close that store; it's not performing and draining company resources."

Cassandra: "I second that; it's a money pit."


Tiffany: "I think we should go to the bar for a drink to celebrate the good news."

Julia: "I second that idea."


Cathy: "That person belongs in jail; there's no way they should be allowed back on the street."

Paul: "I second that. He's a menace to society."

I Second That Origin

The phrase "I second that" originates from the Middle French word, "seconder," first appearing towards the end of the 16th century. The first use of the phrase appears in government, dated to 1597. The term was initially used to gain confirmation from other members in parliament when the speaker was presenting an action or law for the floor to consider.

"I second that" first appeared in the modern language during the beginning of the 20th century. The phrase gained popularity as channels like C-SPAN and CNN allowed the public to get an inside view of what was going on in government, particularly in the UK parliament or the US senate.

The Urban Dictionary would go on to define the phrase for the first time in August 2005. The term still has plenty of use today, and you'll find it in both social and professional conversations when people are looking to support another person's idea or statement.

Phrases Similar to I Second That

  • I'm with you.
  • I totally agree.
  • Let's do it.

Phrases Opposite to I Second That

  • I'm afraid I have to disagree.
  • You don't know what you're talking about.
  • You're on your own with this one.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • I second that.
  • I'll second that.

Ways People May Say I Second That Incorrectly

The use of the phrase "I second that" does not imply that you are coming second to anything. It is not suitable for use in sporting events. The term refers to support, not to positioning.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase I Second That

You can use "I second that" in several scenarios. The phrase suits use in both formal and social situations. You could use the phrase when talking to your friends or your boss at work. The phrase suits situations when you're looking to support other people's statements, requests, or nominations.

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