sec·​ond-best | \ ˌse-kən(d)-ˈbest, -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

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 Naperville is best city to raise a family and the second best place to live, new rankings show. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville named 2018's best city to raise a family," 7 Mar. 2018 So if the ideal Republican outcome is Kavanaugh exonerated and confirmed before there is frost on the pumpkin, what is second best for the GOP? Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Will a justice delayed be a justice denied?," 19 Sep. 2018 Jack Clough competed in the 800 and 1600 meter races placing 18th in the 800 with his second best time, finishing in 2:00.22 seconds. Dan Brown, Ramona Sentinel, "Athletes wrap up season at CIF championships," 7 June 2018 Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, 71% name Obama in the top two, with 51% calling him the best president and 20% naming him the second best. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Barack Obama Is the Greatest President of Our Lifetime, Say 44% of Americans.," 12 July 2018 His 43 percent caught stealing percentage is the second best in the majors among catchers with at least 200 innings caught. Matthew Defranks,, "Marlins surprised J.T. Realmuto didn't win player vote on way to All-Star honor," 9 July 2018 The Sixers are 35-12 since Christmas, the second best record in the NBA behind only the Houston Rockets. Sarah Todd,, "Sixers' confidence has helped them emerge as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference," 6 Apr. 2018 The Eagles have the second best odds (+850) to win their second title in a row, while the Redskins have the eigth worst odds of any team at +7500. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "What are the Cowboys chances of winning the Super Bowl? Cover your eyes.," 5 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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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

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someone who never drinks alcohol

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