What does the idiom "Get a second wind" mean?

Are you using the idiom Get a second wind but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the Get a second wind idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "Get a second wind"


The idiom ‘get a second wind’ is used to describe the feeling of renewed energy that one experiences after feeling tired or exhausted. At the point in which a person feels as if they cannot proceed any further due to fatigue, they may be said to ‘get a second wind’ when they suddenly feel as if they are able to continue their activity. It is also sometimes used in a figurative sense to signify a burst of energy that helps a person persevere or continue with a difficult task.


The phrase ‘get a second wind’ has its roots in the early 19th century, where it was used to describe a situation in which a runner or horse experiences a resurgence of energy at the end of a race, allowing them to finish strong. It was a literal phrase, as runners and horses often had to take a break during a race and then be able to pick up again and finish. The phrase is assumed to have been adapted and changed over time to be used in a more figurative sense today.


The phrase ‘get a second wind’ is typically used to describe a subset of situations such as when a person is feeling physically tired and needs to ‘recharge’, or when a person is feeling mentally exhausted and needs to find their focus again. It is also used when someone has been doing a task for a long time and needs a burst of energy to finish. Finally, it is sometimes used to describe someone’s ability to keep going when faced with a difficult situation or challenge.

Example Sentences

  • After hours of studying, I was so exhausted that I thought I was done for the night, but then I suddenly got a second wind and managed to finish my work.
  • After months of searching for a job, I was ready to give up, but then I got a second wind and finally managed to find some leads.
  • I was running the marathon and thought I wouldn't be able to finish, but then I got a second wind and managed to complete it.

The meanings of the words in the "Get a second wind" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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