Second best
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British pronunciation/sˈɛkənd bˈɛst/
American pronunciation/sˈɛkənd bˈɛst/
Second best
01

the competitor who finishes second

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second best definition and meaning
02

an alternative that is not as fulfilling or desirable as other options that one has

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What is the origin of the idiom "second best" and when to use it?

The idiom "second best" originated from the notion of ranking options or choices in terms of preference or desirability. The term "second best" refers to an alternative that falls short in comparison to other options, lacking the qualities or fulfillment provided by a superior choice. It implies that while the alternative may still have some merit or value, it is not the ideal or optimal selection. In other words, this idiom is commonly used to express the idea of settling for a less desirable option when the preferred choice is unavailable or unattainable.

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Example
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John aimed to win the competition, but he ended up in second place, settling for second best.
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Definition & Meaning of "Second best"
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