- another burst of energy when you had been too tired to finish
- renewed strength enabling work or exercise to continue
- finding extra motivation after being out of breath
- proceed with vigour after being fatigued
- Come on, let’s have that shovel again. I’m getting a second wind now.
- The runner seemed to find his second wind as he reached the 15 km mark.
- They had planned to stop walking at the next bench, but they got their second wind and just kept going.
- I was going to stop working at 6:00 pm, but I got my second wind and just carried on until about 9:00 pm.
- My dog was drooping with exhaustion after that game of ‘fetch’, but he got his second wind when he saw the juicy dog treat.
This idiom has been in use since the late 1800s and originally referred to the return of a regular breathing pattern after any kind of physical effort. Long-distance runners often do get a ‘second wind’ at some point in a race when they find it easier to breathe.
In The Franchise Affair (1946) Josephine Tey wrote:
“Perhaps it was the presence of an ally… or perhaps she had just got her second wind.”
Nowadays, we use it more figuratively for any type of complex undertaking where there has been an initial flagging of energy or enthusiasm.