What does the idiom "on second thoughts" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does on second thoughts mean? In what situations is on second thoughts used?

Meaning of "on second thoughts"


The idiom ‘on second thoughts’ is used to express a change of opinion or idea, usually caused by a reconsideration of the evidence or arguments available. It implies that someone has had time to reflect on their initial thought or idea, before deciding upon a different conclusion.


The first use of the phrase comes from Middle English, when it was used as ‘on second thought’. The phrase has been around since the 15th century and can be found in literature such as ‘The Divine Comedy’, written in 1372. The idiom is thought to have been adapted from the Latin phrase secundis consiliis, which means ‘with the help of a second consultation’.


The phrase ‘on second thoughts’ is typically used to suggest a change of opinion. It is often used in situations where someone has taken time to reconsider their view, before deciding upon a different conclusion. It is also used to suggest a new way of looking at something, or to introduce a fresh perspective on a topic.

Example Sentences

  • On second thoughts, I think I’ll stay home tonight.
  • On second thoughts, perhaps we should wait until tomorrow to make a decision.
  • On second thoughts, maybe you should come with me to the meeting.
  • On second thoughts, I don’t think that’s the best way to solve the problem.

The meanings of the words in the "on second thoughts" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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