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


He won't settle for second best.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, the University of Iowa junior captured the NCAA discus championship with a personal best 207-6, elevating her to the second best in the country and among the world’s leaders. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mount Miguel alum now an NCAA champ," 20 June 2019 But the new additions still needed an old hand in Yanda, who is considered the second best offensive lineman in team history behind Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden. Mike Preston,, "Preston: Ravens' success rests on offensive line, return of healthy Marshal Yanda," 14 June 2019 Short hops The Diamondbacks’ 23-17 road record is tied for the second best road start in club history (also 2016); the 2001 Diamondbacks started 25-15 away from Phoenix. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Carson Kelly to receive more starts in wake of Alex Avila injury," 14 June 2019 Ortiz finished the series 11 for 16 for a .688 average — the second best in World Series history. Globe Staff,, "Boston and St. Louis have a long history in championship play," 27 May 2019 With a more seasoned team, the Sun Devils bolted to a 21-0 start -- tied for second best in school history -- and were 25-1 through March. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "ASU sticking with Tracy Smith as baseball coach after 15-win improvement over 2018," 4 June 2019 By all measures, most specifically a now 30-15 record, which is second best in the American League, the Twins are a good team. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "How low can they go? Mariners embarrassed by Minnesota in 18-4 shellacking," 19 May 2019 The Timberwolves have the second best home record in the NBA at 22-6. Jeff Duncan,, "Timberwolves rout Pelicans 118-107, complete series sweep," 3 Feb. 2018 Fellow Kalitta Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta posted the second best Top Fuel time of the weekend with a 3.688 second pass. Zach Horrall, USA TODAY, "Shawn Langdon's move to Funny Car gives Kalitta Motorsports new look in NHRA," 7 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about second-best

Statistics for second-best

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for second-best

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!