For example, transferring doctors from their specific departments to infectious diseases, where they have no specific knowledge or experience, because there is a pandemic. Transferring a graphic designer to the shop floor because of a product recall incident.

Similar verbs that come to mind are mostly used in the military: 'commandeered', usually applied to things (e.g. ships or buildings), and 'drafted' or 'conscripted'.

  • 3
    "Temporary reassignment".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:52
  • Please provide a sample sentence showing how the target language is to be used. Nov 10, 2020 at 17:02

6 Answers 6


While a hypernym,

second in one of its senses is usually the result of a perceived need:

Definition of second (Entry 5 of 5) [transitive verb] ...

3\ si-​ˈkänd \ [OALD has /sɪˈkɑːnd/] chiefly British:

to release (someone, such as a military officer) from a regularly assigned position for temporary duty with another unit or organization


An example from Deloitte [2017]:

  • In 2008, a UK retailer (UK Co) set up an Indian joint venture company (JV Co) with a large Indian retailer, with a view to expanding the presence of the UK company in India. JV Co thereafter concluded an agreement with UK Co, under which several UK Co employees were seconded to India to help set up the Indian business.

And a COVID-related example from BMJ Emergency Medicine Journal:

To ensure adequate manpower, leave was embargoed and doctors from other departments were seconded to DEM.

  • 3
    Yes, and such a tour of duty would be a secondment. The stress in this use is on the second syllable, not the first as in 'minutes and seconds'. In the US military, the common term is TDY (answer below).
    – Jim Mack
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:07
  • Jim Mack: I noticed the shift in syllable stress too upon looking up the word. Interesting, though I wonder what difference does it make at all.
    – user403195
    Nov 9, 2020 at 14:04
  • Defs British to my ear but good answer Nov 9, 2020 at 21:00
  • 3
    Azor: British but good? Nov 10, 2020 at 12:04
  • 1
    Second does not include the connotation of an emergency situation. Secondments can be routine.
    – user253751
    Nov 10, 2020 at 13:23

An emergency reassignment would be called a redeployment. Although military in origin, it is also used generally:

re·de·ploy or reassign temporarily)

v. re·de·ployed, re·de·ploy·ing, re·de·ploys


  1. To deploy (personnel, especially military forces) to a different place or on a different assignment.

  2. To put to a different use or action; deploy in a different way: redeploy the company's resources.

v.intr. To be deployed to a different area or assignment.

AHD https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=redeploy

  • 2
    The downside of "redeploy" is that it doesn't inherently carry the meaning of a temporary posting
    – Chris H
    Nov 10, 2020 at 14:04
  • 1
    @ChrisH I agree, but that’s the trouble with SWRs.
    – Xanne
    Nov 11, 2020 at 22:00

The US military has an acronym (no surprise) for exactly this situation: TDY, short for Temporary Duty. I regularly worked with people on TDY to our base for training or support. It sounds like a good analog to what you describe.

Unfortunately, while anyone who's had military experience will get it right away, no one else will unless you manage to spread it. (-:


I think assign may work in your case:

If someone is assigned to a particular place, group, or person, they are sent there, usually in order to work at that place or for that person.

  • I was assigned to Troop A of the 10th Cavalry.

(Collins Dictionary)

From: Seventeen Minus Two by Virginia Phlieger-Kroos

Our sisters were first sent there in 1956. Many of the young sisters hoped to serve there. Sister Mary Charity ( Celine) asked the Mother Superior to be assigned to the African Mission and was refused. Instead she was assigned to a smaller hospital.



to apportion for a specific purpose or to particular persons or things



to apportion or distribute (something) in a new or different way



to move to a different place, region, or situation




It is possible to prepend the word interim to the position, as in this example from Wiktionary:

You are interim manager until he returns from hospital.

The word is defined in Merriam Webster:

an intervening time interval

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