View synonyms for second best

second best


  1. the next to the best in performance, achievement, craftsmanship, etc.



  1. next to the best
  2. come off second best informal.
    to be defeated in competition


  1. an inferior alternative

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Other Words From

  • second-best adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of second best1

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50

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Idioms and Phrases

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 .

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Example Sentences

Thus, abortion is another gender gap issue where men and the GOP come out second-best.

With Sanders, Indianapolis had the second-best run defense in the playoffs.

It was a second-best alternative to just counting some of the votes, one which he offered when it looked like he might be losing.

So he wanted to at least explore the second-best option for getting justice for his client, a civil settlement.

Nevertheless, it was the best year since 2006, and 2010 was the second-best year, with employers adding 940,000 jobs.

Poor Johann George came out of it in that way; not second-best, think several.

She was in sober, every-day serge now, and pulling on her second-best cloak.

If he came off second-best a dozen times, he went confidently into the thirteenth trial, brave as Bruce, and equally successful.

You've always come off second-best with Hermansen—and now he's snapped up Mrs. Rantzau under your nose.

That was his own plan; and, though second-best, that also would have done well, had there been no third.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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