- the next to the best in performance, achievement, craftsmanship, etc.
Origin of second best
Also, second class. Next after the first in rank or quality, inferior to the best, as in We aren't satisfied with being second best in sales, or This hotel is obviously second class. The first term dates from the first half of the 1400s, the variant from about 1800. Also see come off, def. 2; second class.