[ ruhn-er-uhp ]
See synonyms for: runner-uprunners-up on

noun,plural run·ners-up.
  1. the competitor, player, or team finishing in second place, as in a race, contest, or tournament.

  2. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use runner-up in a sentence

  • The others began chorusing their congratulations at once, looking no more convincing than the runners-up in any beauty contest.

    Pagan Passions | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Taken objectively there isn't that much difference between myself and the ten runners-up.

    Sense of Obligation | Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
  • As was expected, Buller's easily beat all the outhouses, with Claremont's house as runners-up.

    The Loom of Youth | Alec Waugh
  • In football the men were almost equally good, and we were good runners-up for the Championship of Palestine.

    With the Judans in the Palestine Campaign | J. H. (John Henry) Patterson
  • If they do not hold the runners up, the best catcher in the world cannot stop them at their destination.

    Pitching in a Pinch | Christy Mathewson

British Dictionary definitions for runner-up


nounplural runners-up
  1. 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