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

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 The second best part of ordering pizza — after the hot, gooey, bubbling cheese — is without a doubt the leftovers. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Reheat Pizza, Whether It's One Slice or a Whole Pie," 27 Feb. 2019 This figure, which excludes autos, gas and food services, would be tied with 2014 for the second best growth period since 2005. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "After a Strong 2018 for Retail Sales, Caution Flags Pop Up," 16 Jan. 2019 After the Morton Ranch High School choir sang the National Anthem, the Rockets made the mistake of believing the harmonizers would be the second best team on the Toyota Center floor on Friday night. Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle, "Gerald Green's buzzer-beating trey caps wild Rockets comeback over Suns," 30 Mar. 2018 There is a really difficult tension to be navigated between doing what could lead to a first best outcome and doing the higher-confidence outcome in my own individual agency that is second best or third best. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The case against billionaire philanthropy," 17 Dec. 2018 Apple will never be content with being second best, and the latest iPhone camera system — undeniably Apple’s best to date — bears a striking resemblance to the computational photography approach pioneered by Google. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Sales are a measure of sales, not importance," 16 Oct. 2018 Not yet halfway through his term, 19% say Donald Trump has done the best or second best job of any president of their lifetimes. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 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.

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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

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

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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

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a secret plot to overthrow a government

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