run·​ner-up ˈrə-nər-ˌəp How to pronounce runner-up (audio)
plural runners-up ˈrə-nərz-ˌəp How to pronounce runner-up (audio)
also runner-ups
: the competitor that does not win first place in a contest
especially : one that finishes in second place

Examples of runner-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In our test, the Kindred Bravely was a successful runner-up as best nursing and pumping bra. Maya Polton, Parents, 16 May 2024 Mercedes won its group, for herding dogs, against 32 other breeds, USA TODAY reported, in addition to its runner-up finish in the overall competition. David Clarey, Journal Sentinel, 15 May 2024 Fort Worth Southwest Christian (26-12-1) were state champs in 2003, 2002, 1999 and 1994, and runner-up in 2021. Mike Waters, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 May 2024 The decision to cast Vassos ends months of speculation that Nist or Golden Bachelor runner-up and fan favorite Leslie Fhima, a 65-year-old fitness instructor from Golden Valley, Minn., could topline Golden Bachelorette. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 May 2024 Stephanie Skinner, the New York titleholder who was the first runner-up in the 2023 Miss Teen USA competition, shared a statement Sunday explaining her choice amid the controversy surrounding Srivastava and Miss USA Noelia Voigt's resignations. Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY, 14 May 2024 The film, which is based on a true story, also took the runner-up best film Lola in silver. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 May 2024 Beets got eliminated alongside Seal (Corey Feldman) on the May 1 episode of the singing competition and unmasked as American Idol season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 2 May 2024 The folk singer beat runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson — who was revealed as her new boyfriend, prior to the finale — and Gabby Barrett in third place. Madeline Boardman,, 1 May 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'runner-up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of runner-up was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near runner-up

Cite this Entry

“Runner-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural runners-up
: the competitor in a contest who finishes next to the winner

More from Merriam-Webster on runner-up

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