Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
Related to second string: first string
The group of players that substitute for the starting players or from which substitute players are drawn on a sports team.
sec′ond-string′er (-strĭng′ər) 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)
2. (General Sporting Terms) a substitute or reserve player or team
3. (General Sporting Terms) sport
a. being a substitute player
b. being the second-ranked player of a team in an individual sport
4. second-rate or inferior
the squad of players available either individually or as a team to replace or relieve those who start a game.
[1635–45 in sense “backup, resort,” alluding to a second bowstring]