- the next to the best in performance, achievement, craftsmanship, etc.
Origin of second best
Examples from the Web for second-best
With Sanders, Indianapolis had the second-best run defense in the playoffs.Peyton Manning and Tom Brady Don’t Control Their Own Legacies
January 18, 2014
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.No, Democrats Did Not Just Want to "Count All the Votes" in the 2000 Election.
May 6, 2013
So he wanted to at least explore the second-best option for getting justice for his client, a civil settlement.Five Things You Didn’t Know About DSK From John Solomon’s New Book
June 5, 2012
Nevertheless, it was the best year since 2006, and 2010 was the second-best year, with employers adding 940,000 jobs.Obama’s Wins and Losses by the Numbers: Stocks, Jobs, Health Care, More
January 24, 2012
Oh, father,” cried Polly in alarm, “these are my second-best boots!Polly of Lady Gay Cottage
Emma C. Dowd
I had the feeling that I had come off second-best in the encounter.Kent Knowles: Quahaug
Joseph C. Lincoln
Did you ever feel like arguing with a gentleman when you had on your second-best clothes and no ruffle?John Splendid
She was in sober, every-day serge now, and pulling on her second-best cloak.Jane Journeys On
Ruth Comfort Mitchell
I kept a detaining arm on Peter's sleeve,—his second-best sleeve.The Worn Doorstep
- next to the best
- come off second best informal to be defeated in competition
- an inferior alternative
Idioms and Phrases with 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.