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 The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 15.2 points this season, second best on the team, and added 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Pat Stoetzer,, "College Notebook: Former Century High School basketball star ends senior season at Lebanon Valley in championship game," 24 Mar. 2021 The Tide shot 11-of-22 from beyond the arc, a 50-percent rate that was Alabama’s second best on the season. Mike Rodak |, al, "Jordan Lewis scores 32 as Alabama wins first NCAA women’s tournament game in 22 years," 22 Mar. 2021 Last year, the Coldwater Cavaliers finished second best to Bryan High School in the OHSAA Division II girls state bowling tournament, failing to win for just the third time in program history. Kayla Harvey, cleveland, "Coldwater claims fifth girls Div. II bowling state title," 27 Feb. 2021 Yes, Taurasi and company averaged 8.4 treys per game (second best in the league) but the small forward/wing position especially wasn't a major contributor to that. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Mercury: Brondello welcomes new shooters Nurse, Walker," 19 Mar. 2021 The following comparison also shows that the Galaxy A50 was Samsung’s second best-selling phone of 2019. Chris Smith, BGR, "Samsung just unveiled three phones that will outsell the Galaxy S21," 17 Mar. 2021 The Huskies limited opponents to 41.8 field goal percentage, second best in the league. Dom Amore,, "Big East individual awards for UConn men’s Isaiah Whaley, Tyler Polley," 8 Mar. 2021 And that's a Badgers team that averages 3.90 goals per game, second best in the country. Nick Kelly, Star Tribune, "Top-ranked Wisconsin rallies late, beats No. 2 Gophers women's hockey 4-3 in overtime," 5 Feb. 2021 Instead, the Suns have the second best record in the Western Conference (24-11). Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Taking a halftime look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the NBA season," 6 Mar. 2021

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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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

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