- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for runners-up
Winners will be rewarded $300,000 and a collaboration with J.Crew, and the two runners-up will receive $100,000.CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists Announced; Beyoncé Wears Nothing But Glitter
The Fashion Beast Team
July 11, 2013
Runners-up for the president include “disappointing,” “weak,” “tired,” and “lost.”Debate Word Clouds: Your One-Word Reax
Sam Schlinkert, Brian Ries
October 4, 2012
One of the runners-up in the Person of the Year award by the industry website IWantMedia.com was The Laid-Off Journalist.Kill the Media Zombies
December 8, 2008
These runners-up chose a more modern style, rather than the crowd-pleasing Vitamin D crew.Dance Your Way to a Ph.D.
December 4, 2008
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
- a contestant finishing a race or competition in second place
Word Origin and History for runners-up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper