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the next to the best in performance, achievement, craftsmanship, etc.
next to the best
(informal) come off second best, to be defeated in competition
an inferior alternative
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


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