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[ruhn-er-uhp] /ˈrʌn ərˈʌp/
noun, plural runners-up.
the competitor, player, or team finishing in second place, as in a race, contest, or tournament.
runners-up, the competitors who do not win a contest but who place ahead of the majority of the contestants and share in prizes or honors, as those who place second, third, and fourth, or in the top ten.
Origin of runner-up
First recorded in 1835-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for runner-up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A purse of $50 was offered for the winner and $30 for the runner-up.

    The Dogs of Boytown Walter A. Dyer
  • I won one once—runner-up in the fifth flight over at San Gabriel.

    Fore! Charles Emmett Van Loan
  • You see they do say I'm runner-up among the amateurs on the green links.

  • However, as a traitor, I'm not even a runner-up with your father.

    The Pride of Palomar

    Peter B. Kyne
  • Last week Mrs. Clement Barstow was runner-up in the women's amateur golf tournament played on the Okoochee eighteen-hole course.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
British Dictionary definitions for runner-up


noun (pl) runners-up
a contestant finishing a race or competition in second place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for runner-up

1842, originally in dog racing, "dog that loses only the final race;" see runner + up. General sense is from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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