Etymology
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second-best (adj.)

late 14c., "next in quality after the first; of less importance;" see second (adj.) + best (adj.).

updated on March 22, 2022

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Definitions of second-best from WordNet
1
second-best (adv.)
in second place;
he came off second-best
2
second-best (adj.)
next to the best;
his second-best bed
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.