second best

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second best

(Describing) someone or something that is one step below or slightly inferior to the person or thing that is considered the best, especially in a formal ranking. Even though I'd spent weeks working on my project for the science fair, I still came off second best. Do you want to be remembered as second best? Or as the champions?
See also: second

second best

Also, second class. Next after the first in rank or quality, inferior to the best, as in We aren't satisfied with being second best in sales, or This hotel is obviously second class. The first term dates from the first half of the 1400s, the variant from about 1800. Also see come off, def. 2; second class.
See also: second

ˌsecond ˈbest

not as good as the best; not exactly what you want: The two teams seemed evenly matched, but Arsenal came off second best (= did not win).Sometimes you have to settle for (= be content with) second best.
See also: second
References in periodicals archive ?
The second-best in the Football League at 'making fans feel valued'.
Even with the variations, the vast majority of states set records for home sales in 2004 and most of the rest had their second-best year," he said.
His 67 at Porter Ranch Country Club is the second-best score.
The Giants had the second-best record in baseball that season, eight games better than the eventual World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays, and nine better than the NL champion Phillies.
The Holiday Inn brand of Bass PLC (NYSE: BAS) was the second-best performing brand in the Midscale with Food and Beverage segment, with RevPAR growth of 6.
574 winning percentage is the second-best in franchise history for pitchers with at least 50 decisions, trailing only Bert Blyleven's (33-24, .
Ghost Creek, a daily-fee course, earned Golf Digest's best new public course in the United States, and Witch Hollow, a private course, was named second-best new private course in the United States by Golf Digest.
He has the second-best long jump in the nation and best in California this year at 24 feet, 5 inches.
GSAC leader Vanguard (11-1) has the NAIA's second-best offense (94.
Rapper-producer Kanye West, who recently opened for Usher on tour, did second-best, scooping up three nominations.