sec·​ond-best | \ ˌse-kən(d)-ˈbest How to pronounce second-best (audio) , -kᵊŋ- \

Definition of second-best

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: next to the best

second best


Definition of second best (Entry 2 of 3)

: one that is below or after the best

second best


Definition of second best (Entry 3 of 3)

: in second place

Examples of second-best in a Sentence

Noun He won't settle for second best.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Per Elias Sports Bureau, Dallas' +67 point differential is the second best in NFL history for a team with a losing record after 13 games. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season," 9 Dec. 2019 Washington’s penalty kill is second best in the league as the Capitals have and 85.7 percent success rate when down a man., "Capitals thumbnails," 22 Dec. 2019 This is Marganore’s second best biopharma CEO nomination. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Here are the nominees for best biopharma CEO of 2019. Vote for your favorite!," 16 Dec. 2019 Tampa Bay boasts the second best run-stuffing unit in the league, conceding just 76.2 yards per game on the ground. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Colts RB Marlon Mack ‘has a chance’ to play Sunday vs. Tampa Bay," 4 Dec. 2019 Leftovers Day, the second best food holiday of the year. Alison Roman, Bon Appétit, "Tuck Your Thanksgiving Leftovers into a Cozy Turkey Pot Pie," 26 Nov. 2019 The game charters at Pro Football Focus rank New England's special teams as the second best of 2019. Neil Greenberg,, "Tom Brady is no longer playing like an elite quarterback," 19 Nov. 2019 No joke: Different study claims Louisville drivers are among the best in the nation A QuoteWizard survey from Oct. 15 found Louisville drivers to be the second best in the country. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Report: Louisville is the 10th most dangerous city for drivers," 29 Oct. 2019 The second best way is by recreating that magical Gimbels scene from Elf in a one-of-a-kind suite. Hannah Chubb,, "This Decked-Out Buddy the Elf-Themed Hotel Suite Will Have You Singing Loud For All to Hear," 19 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'second-best.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of second-best


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1647, in the meaning defined above


1777, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for second-best

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The first known use of second-best was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Second-best.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for second-best

second best


English Language Learners Definition of second best

: something that is good but not the best

More from Merriam-Webster on second-best

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with second-best

Comments on second-best

What made you want to look up second-best? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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