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Second best   /sˈɛkənd bɛst/   Listen
Second best

noun
1.
The competitor who finishes second.  Synonym: runner-up.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Second best" Quotes from Famous Books



... Randy, and also to select and trim two hats for her. Mrs. Weston's idea of "one for best and one for everyday" had, by cautious urging upon Janie's part, been stretched to the extent of adding "one more for second best." ...
— Randy and Her Friends • Amy Brooks

... whip violently on the horse's back. The latter gave a convulsive spring forward. But his driver had not taken into consideration that the farm-wagon was the stronger of the two vehicles, and that in any collision the buggy must come off second best. So it happened that a wheel of the buggy was broken, and the driver, in the shock, thrown sprawling into a puddle on the other side of the road. The wagon suffered no damage, but the old horse, terrified, ...
— Try and Trust • Horatio Alger

... come to them now. She would have to go to Miss Fox and the children. Myra wouldn't like it, and Mamma always interfered with Miss Fox, and would have to take the second best bedroom, and George would probably make a fuss, but there was nothing else to do. ...
— Poor, Dear Margaret Kirby and Other Stories • Kathleen Norris

... carried on with fifteen on each side; for though each party had spare players, they could not agree as to the use of them. Our next man was better than theirs, they said, and they were anxious that we should take our second best, to which our men would not agree. Therefore the game was ultimately played with ...
— The Fixed Period • Anthony Trollope

... much joy; O, touch of airy fire; O, turmoil of content; O, unperturb'd desire, From founts of spirit impell'd through brain and blood! I'll not call ill what, since 'tis thine, is good, Nor best what is but second best or third; Still my heart fails, And, unaccustom'd and astonish'd, quails, And blames me, though I think I have not err'd. 'Tis hard for fly, in such a honied flood, To use her eyes, far more her wings or feet. Bitter ...
— The Unknown Eros • Coventry Patmore

... refectory; (4) a Library; (5) a Chapel; (6) Steward's apartments." As an alternative to (3) he suggested three lecture rooms with some adjacent small apartments. It was proposed that prizes should be offered for the first and second best plans with specifications and estimates, not only for the buildings, but also for the laying out of College grounds on the northwest side of Sherbrooke Street "in avenues and ornamental and kitchen gardens." It was pointed out that this land consisted of about seventeen acres, ...
— McGill and its Story, 1821-1921 • Cyrus Macmillan

... crowded as the Signora Aurelia and Olive passed through it to their seats on the second best stand, and the carabinieri were clearing the course. The thousands of people in the central space, who had been chewing melon seeds, fanning themselves, and talking vociferously as they waited, grew quieter, and all ...
— Olive in Italy • Moray Dalton

... compulsion, they endeavour to keep their stripes concealed. When brought to bay, however, there is little to reproach them with on the score of cowardice, and it will be matter of rejoicing if you or your elephants do not come off second best in the encounter. Even in the last desperate case, a cunning old tiger will often make a feint, or sham rush, or pretended charge, when his whole object is flight. If he succeed in demoralising the line of elephants, roaring and dashing furiously about, he will then try in the confusion to double ...
— Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier - Twelve Years Sporting Reminiscences of an Indigo Planter • James Inglis

... put up with Lord Scamperdale's second best coat, his lordship having taken the best one himself; but it was passable enough by candle light, and the seediness of the blue cloth was relieved by a velvet collar and a new set of the Flat Hat Hunt buttons. Mr. Sponge wore a plain scarlet with a crimson velvet collar, and a bright fox on the ...
— Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour • R. S. Surtees

... book for we had no cards, being told by one of the Staff whom we met that we should do so. An hour later a note arrived asking us both to dinner that night and telling us very nicely not to mind if we had no dress things. Of course we had to go, Anscombe rigged up in my second best clothes that did not fit him in the least, as he was a much taller man than I am, and a black satin bow that he had bought at Becket's Store together with a pair of ...
— Finished • H. Rider Haggard

... admirable effects. The young people were all convened in one place, and their conduct was examined. He that was declared the best of the whole assembly, had leave given him to take which girl he pleased for his wife; the second best chose after him, and so on. Admirable institution! The only recommendation that young men could have on this occasion, was their virtue, and the service done their country. He who had the greatest share of these endowments, chose which girl he liked ...
— Classic French Course in English • William Cleaver Wilkinson

... of diminutive stature, smaller even than Thiers,—almost a dwarf,—and his first words on this occasion had a comical effect. He said, in substance, "I am told that if we enter into a combination with the chancellor in this matter, we are sure to come out second best.'' At this Bismarck raised his head, turned and looked at the orator, the attention of the whole audience being fastened upon both. "But,'' continued Windthorst, "the chancellor will have to get up very early in the morning to outwit us ...
— Volume I • Andrew Dickson White

... named Marion Cloud, considered the second best belle of Toledo, changed the gist of the situation by a remark ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... I should be jealous. Of what? I got all I tried for. Besides, the truth about your French prize is that you may consider yourself very fortunate, for if' (she mentioned the name of one of her schoolfellows) 'hadn't been so shy and timid, you'd have come off second best.' ...
— Muslin • George Moore

... railroad cops at Logansport. It seems a track-walker found a dead bobcat on the Logan River branch, about a mile or so below MMY signal tower. Looks like it tangled with that night freight up-river, and came off second best. It ...
— Police Operation • H. Beam Piper

... You'll be late, sir. You must get up at once." The usual slumbrous "All right" was not forthcoming; but, as she herself had varied her morning salute, her ear was less expectant of the echo. She went downstairs, with no foreboding save that the kettle would come off second best in the race between its ...
— The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes • Israel Zangwill

... game as herring. The Sword-fish, for instance, always appears to prefer large victims, and he has such strong tastes of that kind, that he has been known to attack ships, driving his long sword clean through the bottom of the vessel. But he generally comes off second best on such occasions, for his sword is very often broken off and left sticking fast in the ...
— Round-about Rambles in Lands of Fact and Fancy • Frank Richard Stockton

... this spring, while I was in New Orleans. She left me her second best ear-trumpet,—she was deef as a post. She had two of 'em. One was a rubber toob sort of thing,—pretty nigh four foot long. She only used that on Sundays, an' when the minister called. She left me the other, an' I've got it to home, ...
— The Voyage of the Hoppergrass • Edmund Lester Pearson

... there hope in store for her there? she wondered, as she walked home from the Perkins house, full of admiration for Emma Jane's winter outfit, and loyally trying to keep that admiration free from wicked envy. Her red-winged black hat was her second best, and although it was shabby she still liked it, but it would never do for church, even in Aunt Miranda's strange and never-to-be-comprehended views of ...
— New Chronicles of Rebecca • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... Brahms chorale. You should know that it makes the second best variations in existence. The best are in the Heroic Symphony. The third best are Dvorak's in ...
— The So-called Human Race • Bert Leston Taylor

... foot-ball match in the University of late came off on Saturday last, between the fresh and sophs. Seven goals, or byes, or tallies, or scores, or something—we are not au fait on foot-ball phraseology—constituted the game, which was won by the freshmen, the sophs coming out second best each time. Foot-ball is a new institution on the Campus, but bids fair to be popular, at least ...
— The University of Michigan • Wilfred Shaw

... many compliments to a poor graduate who only won the premium of rhetoric, and was second best in geometry. ...
— Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 3, January 19, 1884. - A Weekly Journal for the Farm, Orchard and Fireside • Various

... herself, then slipped back into the house, combed her hair over carefully, tied it with her best ribbon, and arrayed herself in her new blue lawn which her mother had distinctly told her was to be her second best ...
— Chicken Little Jane on the Big John • Lily Munsell Ritchie

... said Philip, disagreeably; "this morning, for instance." He and Molly have been having a passage of arms, and he has come off second best. ...
— Molly Bawn • Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

... the Number of the Troops are diminishd, the Insolence of the officers (at least some of them) is increased. In private Rencounters I have not heard of a single Instance of their coming off other than second best. I will give you several Instances of their Behavior in publick. On the 6th Instant there was an Adjournment of our Town Meeting when an Oration was deliverd in Commemoration of the Massacre on the 5th of March 1770. I had long expected they would take that Occasion ...
— The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III. • Samuel Adams

... setting in when the Major began to catch glimpses of the laced hats of coachman and footmen over the hedges, a lumbering made itself heard, and by and by the vehicle halted at the gate. Such a coach! It was only the second best, and the glories of its landscape—painted sides were somewhat dimmed, the green and silver of the fittings a little tarnished to a critical eye; yet it was a splendid article, commodious and capacious, though ill-provided ...
— Love and Life • Charlotte M. Yonge

... feather from the wing of the miller's goose affixed to the front of Helmas' second best crown, because that was the one he used to give judgments in. And when it was noised abroad that King Helmas had the Zhar-Ptitza's feather, the Peohtes came gladly to be judged, and the neighboring kings began ...
— Figures of Earth • James Branch Cabell

... set forth early in the morning. Orah wore her pink apron and starched sun-bonnet, and Obed wore his clean brown linen frock and trousers, the frock skirt standing out stiff like a paper fan. As his second best hat could not be found, and his first best was not to be thought of, he was obliged to wear his third best, which had a torn brim, and which he put on with tears and sniffles and ...
— Harper's Young People, February 3, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... to our family, assures me that, about 1644, six quarters of wheat would stand, as they terme it, Hindon Market, which is now perhaps the second best market after Warminster ...
— The Natural History of Wiltshire • John Aubrey

... have, but our tables of maxima we owe to the sporting men more than to the philosophers. The lesson their experience teaches is, that Nature makes no leaps,—does nothing per saltum. The greatest brain that ever lived, no doubt, was only a small fraction of an idea ahead of the second best. Just look at the chess-players. Leaving out the phenomenal exceptions, the nice shades that separate the skilful ones show how closely their brains approximate,—almost as closely as chronometers. Such a person is a "knight-player,"—he ...
— The Professor at the Breakfast Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.)

... gather from Mr. Irving that these lines were considered as the second best set of those produced on the occasion—Colin Mackenzie of Portmore, through life Scott's dear friend, carrying off ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume I (of 10) • John Gibson Lockhart

... which his mysterious departure for London does not weaken, and his long absence, his infrequent visits to Stratford, the Duke's injunction to Viola—"let still the woman take An Elder than herself"—and the ironical bequest of his second best bed, ...
— Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 7 of 8 • Charles F. (Charles Francis) Horne

... prefer the best not only to the worst but to the second best. It means in music to prefer Beethoven not only to jazz but to Brahms. So it is in all forms of art, in athletics, in ...
— The Good Housekeeping Marriage Book • Various

... are other passions—as, for instance, panic—that can run, upon occasion, six and a half; so, as I had the start of him, (you know, reader,) and not a very short start,—thanks be to the expanded petticoats of my dear female friends!—naturally it happend that the green-eyed monster came in second best. Time, luckily, was precious with him; and, accordingly, when he had chased me into the by-road leading down to Greenhay, he turned back. For the moment, therefore, I found myself suddenly released from danger. But this ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... learned to do a turn very acceptably. On one occasion I took a small part upon the Boston Museum stage to fill the place made vacant by the illness of a regular member of the cast—an illness due in part to a carousal at the Cock and Spur the night before, in which he had come out second best. ...
— The Confessions of Artemas Quibble • Arthur Train

... the economic interdependence of Germany and her neighbors are overwhelming. Germany was the best customer of Russia, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria-Hungary; she was the second best customer of Great Britain, Sweden, and Denmark; and the third best customer of France. She was the largest source of supply to Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Roumania, and Bulgaria; and the second largest ...
— The Economic Consequences of the Peace • John Maynard Keynes

... peremptory and repeated. Therefore Banks at once made up his mind to retreat to Grand Ecore, and sent messenger after messenger across the country to tell Kilby Smith and Porter what had happened and what he was about to do. In thus deciding he chose the second best course, and the one that Taylor wished for; it would have been far better to cover Blair's Landing and thus make sure of the safety as well as the support of the gunboats and ...
— History of the Nineteenth Army Corps • Richard Biddle Irwin

... fast and thick When horses start this Yankee trick. But with the cowboys of the West The horses come off second best. ...
— A Horse Book • Mary Tourtel

... drown, founder, have the ground cut from under one; get into trouble, get into a mess, get into a scrape; come to grief &c (adversity) 735; go to the wall, go to the dogs, go to pot; lick the dust, bite the dust; be defeated &c 731; have the worst of it, lose the day, come off second best, lose; fall a prey to; succumb &c (submit) 725; not have a leg to stand on. come to nothing, end in smoke; flat out^; fall to the ground, fall through, fall dead, fall stillborn, fall flat; slip through one's ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... why, Monny forgot to ask how I had obtained the green turban; and for this I was glad, because it was only the second best headgear of my smart friend the Hadji. In explaining that the distinguished Egyptian had been engaged by Sir Marcus Lark, I slipped in a word about my own part in the trip, describing it as an ideal rest-cure for a budding diplomat on sick leave. I praised the boat and spoke ...
— It Happened in Egypt • C. N. Williamson & A. M. Williamson

... factor, who lets everything ornamental go to wreck and ruin, or just clears it off for farm purposes.... The butter factor's dogs came out barking and biting as we left the garden. Henry made a timely retreat; the professor showed fight, and came off second best, with his mantle torn. Then to the Church of Santa Cruz and to ...
— Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Henry Reeve, C.B., D.C.L. - In Two Volumes. VOL. II. • John Knox Laughton

... been elated at a less brilliant match than that she had made. The "best people" of the aforesaid suburb were exclusive; slow to form intimacies with their unaccredited neighbors, and very hasty in breaking them at the faintest whiff of a doubtful or tainted reputation. And of the second best the Dorrances had kept themselves clear. Having met and captivated her wealthy lover on a rarely fortunate summer jaunt, made in company with her eldest brother, his wife, and two relatives of the last-named, Clara did not repel him or ...
— At Last • Marion Harland

... forgotten that they who did not rise by the sword did not rise at all. They were not. In view of this, there is something wrong with Doctor Jordan's war-theory, which is to the effect that the best being sent out to war, only the second best, the men who are left, remain to breed a second-best race, and that, therefore, the human race deteriorates under war. If this be so, if we have sent forth the best we bred and gone on breeding from the men who were left, and since we have done this for ...
— The Human Drift • Jack London

... same melancholy reflections as Cat. Fanshawe,[22] and feared there would not be one clever or agreeable person left in London a Twelve-month hence; my only comfort is the expectation that House rent will be very cheap, and that the said Cat. will be better disposed to take up with second best company for want of perfection, and that we may have ...
— Before and after Waterloo - Letters from Edward Stanley, sometime Bishop of Norwich (1802;1814;1814) • Edward Stanley

... grew cheerful again, and the breakfast-table wore something of its old look. The Koh-i-noor, as we named the gentleman with the diamond, left us, however, soon after that "little mill," as the young fellow John called it, where he came off second best. His departure was no doubt hastened by a note from the landlady's daughter, inclosing a lock of purple hair which she "had valued as a pledge of affection, ere she knew the hollowness of the vows he had breathed," speedily ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 26, December, 1859 • Various

... more homely and less stage effect arguer, which we term Knowledge of the world; "but this would be neither useful nor dignified—common sense never quarrels with any one. Call upon Lord Dawton, if you will—ask him for his promise, with your second best smile, and receive his excuses with your very best. Then do as you please—break with him or not—you can do either with grace and quiet; never make a scene about any thing—reproach and anger always do ...
— Pelham, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... fellow; persuaded that he was destined to high things, hungry for them, yet not seeing how to achieve them; hungry for money also—probably as the only possible means of achieving them—and determined, meanwhile, not to accept any second best he could help. It was so, at least—from the cynical point of view of an observer who never wasted time on any other—that Melrose ...
— The Mating of Lydia • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... they did, my airs and harangue had put the thought to flight before it was delivered. Consequently, they were all transfixed with astonishment when the judges presented the target to them, and gravely observed, "It's only second best, after all the fuss." ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume IV. (of X.) • Various

... but replied: "I'd look fine hoeing potatoes in my Sunday suit, wouldn't I!" Nevertheless he was mindful of her request and always came to dinner in, at worst, his second best. ...
— A Daughter of the Middle Border • Hamlin Garland

... the State on the "Rights and Wrongs of Woman," was by Mrs. Mary J. Colburn, in the village of Champlin, in 1858, the same year that Minnesota was admitted to the Union. In 1864, the State officers promised two prizes for the first and second best essays on "Minnesota as a Home for Emigrants," reserving to the examining committee the right to reject all manuscripts offered if found unworthy. The first prize was accorded to Mrs. Colburn. Most of the other competitors ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... him, and she would insist upon his facing the fact that there had been someone else in her life who had first claim upon her heart. That would be her other chance. And should Roger—as well he might—refuse to take second best, then willy-nilly she would be once more thrust forth into the troublous sea of longing and desire. But if he still wanted her—why, then she would have been quite honest with him and it would seem to be ...
— The Moon out of Reach • Margaret Pedler

... production of this phenomenon, and the means most conducive in Spain to natural nitrification." The prize, to be awarded in May 1851, is to be a gold medal and 6000 copper reals—about seventy pounds sterling; and a second similar medal will be given to the second best paper. The papers, written in Spanish or Latin, are to be sent in before the 1st May, with, as usual, ...
— The International Weekly Miscellany, Volume I. No. 9. - Of Literature, Art, and Science, August 26, 1850 • Various

... is worse than your bite, Tommy. I shouldn't wonder if you were to come off second best ...
— The Nursery, No. 165. September, 1880, Vol. 28 - A Monthly Magazine For Youngest Readers • Various

... Alexander Hume, a shoemaker, a strong stalwart man, bold and energetic in his character, and extremely enthusiastic in the cause of the king. He was deemed of considerable importance by Brydone, being held the second best man of the hundred citizens who are said to have joined his standard. When he came among his companions he was uniformly cheered. They had confidence in his sagacity and prudence, respected his valour, ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Vol. XXIII. • Various

... were no longer the friends they had been. There was a mystery about their recent quarrel; but as Gilks had been down in the mouth ever since, while Silk showed no signs of dejection, it was safe to assume the former had come off second best. ...
— The Willoughby Captains • Talbot Baines Reed

... And you're asking for a second best. Even that—I'm just not made that way, I suppose. Fifty years or a hundred, it would be all ...
— The Breaking Point • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... can not contrive to do what one wants, he should, I suppose, do the second best thing. The only thing for me to do—the thing that'll be a comfort for me to look back on—is to render Phillida some service. In short, to save her life ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... ever a hint of misunderstanding between Melville and his nephew was the latter's second marriage, to which the uncle was at first much opposed. Their correspondence on this subject contains some passages of lively repartee, in which the elder undoubtedly came off second best. 'The chaste father'—so the younger writes—'who reposed in the embraces of Minerva was not to measure others by himself; he was not ashamed to own he was in love; ay, and had he not the highest precedents for the step he was taking—there were ...
— Andrew Melville - Famous Scots Series • William Morison

... to use force—unless he could take us at a disadvantage. Man for man, Ramon and I were quite equal to Kidd and Yawl. We were, moreover, better armed, as so far as I knew, they had no weapons, save their sailors' knives. In a personal struggle, they might come off second best; were, in any case, likely to get badly hurt, and unless I was much mistaken, they wanted to get hold of my diamonds with a minimum of risk to themselves. Wherefore, so long as we kept a sharp lookout, we had little to fear from open violence. As for ...
— Mr. Fortescue • William Westall

... likely to come off badly, for however great a pet you may make of an animal, when it comes to a question whether you or he are to go thirsty, the animal is apt to come off second best. And the camels, who reverse the recipe of "little and often," and require "much and seldom," must fill the reservoirs, as they call their stomachs, at certain intervals, or die. And if they died the ...
— For Fortune and Glory - A Story of the Soudan War • Lewis Hough

... they govern. In doing it, they should avoid pedantry, parsimony, and favouritism; and their mode of action should be large, considerate, and foreseeing. Large; inasmuch as they must not easily be contented with the second best in any of their projects. Considerate; inasmuch as they have to think what their people need most, not what will make most show. And therefore, they should be contented, for instance, at their work going on underground for a time, or in byways, if needful; the best charity in public ...
— Friends in Council (First Series) • Sir Arthur Helps

... it so!" said Elmer, not as a question but as if the full force of the proposition had just struck him. "Now you mention it, I don't know that I ever knew Hat Tyler to come off second best in a transaction. I was talking to a party only the other day, and he said the same thing himself. He says, 'Hat's a smart ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1919 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... too, James, and I also have a thousand weight of prime leaf which talks back to your thousand weight, and tells it that Cressy is the second best three year old in Virginia, not ...
— The Shadow of the North - A Story of Old New York and a Lost Campaign • Joseph A. Altsheler

... courage to the STRIKING point, he never passed a day without fighting. He was notorious for his pugnacious propensities; had been in the Infirmary more than once for the tokens he had received of the prowess of his opponents. In his battles he always came off second best, and was now in the "accident ward" in consequence of a broken leg, having been kicked down stairs by a gang of rowdies whom he had ...
— Jack in the Forecastle • John Sherburne Sleeper

... after he has been tossed by the bull; the tips of these [poles] are covered with thick leather to prevent them from disembowelling the dogs. The most spirited stroke is considered to be that of the dog who seizes the bull's lip, clinging to it and pinning the animal for some time; the second best hit is to seize the eyebrows; the third, but far inferior, consists ...
— Shakespearean Playhouses - A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration • Joseph Quincy Adams

... Dinwiddie went on, "there are reported two engagements in which our troops came off second best - at Newhern and at Winchester. It is difficult perhaps to know the exact truth - the papers on the two sides hold such different language. But the sixth of April there was a furious battle at Pittsburg Landing, our men headed ...
— Daisy in the Field • Elizabeth Wetherell

... "wes callit the King; the second best, the Queen; the third, the Knave. Them as wouldna' ficht we callit 'fougie.' Eh, what ...
— Up in Ardmuirland • Michael Barrett

... note in your pocket, the most honest man in the world would never dream of having such a thing in his possession without having paid the money for it, and the least slip of memory might lead to a dispute in which you would infallibly come off second best." ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... about the masters and their works. There was a player attachment to the piano, and the girl and Gowan had a contest, playing the same selections in turn, to see which could get the most expression by means of the mechanical apparatus. If anything, the girl came out second best. At least she said so; but ...
— Out of the Depths - A Romance of Reclamation • Robert Ames Bennet

... One may be naturally clever and athletic, but it is astonishing how many others, equal, and even superior to oneself, can be found in an assembly of over two hundred girls. Do what you would, a dozen others appeared to compete with you, and it was ten to one that you came off second best. ...
— Tom and Some Other Girls - A Public School Story • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... Louisa Loggerheads, he was then courting. (It must be stated that Mrs Louisa's name contained no slur of cantankerousness; it is merely the local word for a harmless plant, the knapweed.) He had now won Mrs Loggerheads, after being a widower thrice, and with her the second best 'house' ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... Edward would give us the second best jewel in his chaplet for the rich prize we have sent him," ...
— The Days of Bruce Vol 1 - A Story from Scottish History • Grace Aguilar

... The second best trump is the lowest card of the trump suit, the two of trumps in a black suit, or the seven of trumps if the trump suit be red. This ...
— Playful Poems • Henry Morley

... would make him delight in you beyond measure. They are, a Madonna, and Child, by Dominichino, (252) in the palace Zambeccari, at Boloana, or Caliambec, (253) as they call it; Mr. Chute knows the picture. The other is by Corregio, in a convent at Parma, and reckoned the second best of that hand in the world. There are the Madonna and Child, St. Catherine, St. Matthew, and other figures: it is a most known picture, and has been engraved by Augustin Caracei. If you can employ any body privately to inquire about these pictures, be so good as to let me know; Sir R. would ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 • Horace Walpole

... terms with each other. In their wild state they are enemies, and each seems to think the other has no business about the cottage; and Frank has been the unwilling witness to many a desperate fight between them, in which the poor crow always comes off second best. Then, to console himself, he will fly upon Frank's shoulder, cawing with all his might, as if scolding him for not lending some assistance. To make amends for his defeat, Frank gives him a few kernels of corn, and then ...
— Frank, the Young Naturalist • Harry Castlemon

... for many years to come, and I have suffered so much that I never could suffer again. Remember always that you are to be a great man, not merely a successful one. Your mind and your will are capable of all things. Never try for the second best, and that means to put your immediate personal desire aside when it encounters one of the ideals of your time. Unless you identify yourself with the great principles of the world you will be a failure, because your mind is created in harmony with them, and if you use ...
— The Conqueror • Gertrude Franklin Atherton

... dreams," thought this busconducting Omar Khayyam, "there is nothing but disappointment. We expected too much. We expected satisfaction. There is nothing in the world but second bests, but dreams are an excellent second best. Our last attitude must be 'How interesting, but how very far from ...
— This Is the End • Stella Benson

... Tom Brown, and probably John Dennis. Blackmore's supporters answered Commendatory Verses with Discommendatory Verses on Those Which are Truly Commendatory, on the Author of the Two Arthurs, and the Satyr against Wit. (1700). It is not at all certain that Blackmore emerged second best in this exchange of blows in the miscellanies. At any rate, unabashed he went on to write more epics on Elizabeth, Alfred, Job, and to win himself a doubtful immortality by being pilloried in ...
— Essay upon Wit • Sir Richard Blackmore

... admire my cuteness in foreseeing this very thing and swapping trees to beat it. But, don't you know, there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... The truth is, we had it all our own way below. And, as it proved, when our captain, Pearson, struck, most of his men were below. I know, that, in all the confusion and darkness and noise, I had no idea, aft on the main deck, that we were like to come off second best. On the other hand, at that time, the Richard probably had not a man left between-decks, unless some whom they were trying to keep at her pumps. But on her upper deck and quarter-deck and in her tops she had it all her own ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 84, October, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... play there lay, clothed in the most childish forms, a struggle for the supremacy, and for the present Pelle was the one who came off second best. In an emergency, Rud always knew how to appeal to his good qualities and turn them ...
— Pelle the Conqueror, Complete • Martin Andersen Nexo

... home in its own high house. We were less cold than we had been; and when presently the worst of the zigzags were past and a great black tunnel-mouth in sight to show we'd reached the col, the sun was almost warm. A few moments more, and (on our second best speed, with all five on board) we had shot into that ...
— My Friend the Chauffeur • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... a little lost my way, and stand bemused at the cross-roads. A subject? Ay, I have dozens; I have at least four novels begun, they are none good enough; and the mill waits, and I'll have to take second best. The Ebb Tide I make the world a present of; I expect, and, I suppose, deserve to be torn to pieces; but there was all that good work lying useless, and ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 25 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... in his Memoirs, containing the observations he made during the action, on the motion of cannon bullets in the recoil, and their effect when passing near the human body. His bravery was rewarded by his promotion to command the Katharine, the second best ship in the fleet. This vessel had been captured by the Dutch during the action, but was retaken by the English crew before she could be carried into harbour. Lord Mulgrave had a picture of the Katherine at ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Volume 5 (of 18) - Amboyna; The state of Innocence; Aureng-Zebe; All for Love • John Dryden

... courage to ask her who was her papa, so he was forced at last to leave her without fathoming the mystery. Mrs. Proudie, in her second best, had now returned to the rooms, and her husband thought it as well that he should not remain in too close conversation with the lady whom his wife appeared to hold in such slight esteem. Presently he came across ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... try it; I don't think we'll come off second best," answered the matter-of-fact captain of ...
— An Undivided Union • Oliver Optic

... monopoly of labor, and as such locked the States where it prevailed against the incoming of free industry. Where labor was the property of the capitalist, the white man was excluded from employment, or had but the second best chance of finding it; and the foreign emigrant turned away from the region where his condition would be so precarious. With the destruction of the monopoly free labor will hasten from all parts of the civilized world to assist in developing ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 2 (of 2) of Volume 6: Andrew Johnson • James D. Richardson

... the ground before the ladders: these last were the particular objects of Mr. Jeremiah's wishes: meantime, in default of those, and as the second best thing that could happen, the engines played with such a well-directed stream of water upon the window—upon the Golden Sow—and upon Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger, that for one while they were severally rendered tolerably fire-proof. ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... little wretch!—throws out a kick with his utmost power against his fair, fat, substantial partner. What is the result? He did not calculate the "vis inertiae," that a little body kicking against the greater is wont to come off second best—so he kicks himself out of bed, and here ends the comedy of the affair; the rest is tragic enough. Some how or other, in his fall, he broke his neck upon the spot. This was a very awkward affair. The bell is rung, up come the friends; the story is told, nor is it other than they had suspected. ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843 • Various

... tossing angrily. The animal saw the green-hide coming and ducked its head, and the whirling rope fell and flicked it in the eye. It was not Uncle's fault that he had missed, but it was a failure all the same, and nobody likes to come off second best when it is a case of such keen rivalry. He looked round and saw that his ill-luck had been observed by all his companions, for there was a lull in the work just at that time, and all hands were watching. The black-boy was on his mettle to redeem his reputation, ...
— In the Musgrave Ranges • Jim Bushman

... mortgagor and who is the mortgagee, for, upon my sacred word of honour, I never can remember which is which or who does what. One leaves one's money to one's beloved wife by a legal document, or one cuts her off with a shilling and one's second best bed, like SHAKSPEARE, you know. Really, there's nothing you can't ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 24, 1914 • Various

... the courage to ask her who was her papa; so he was forced at last to leave her without fathoming her mystery. Mrs Proudie, in her second best, had now returned to the rooms, and her husband thought it as well that he should not remain in too close conversation with the lady whom his wife appeared to hold in such slight esteem. Presently he came across ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... hurried to their room and mended all her own clothing she had laid out. Then she deliberately went over Nancy Ellen's and helped herself to a pair of pretty nightdresses, such as she had never owned, a white embroidered petticoat, the second best white dress, and a most becoming sailor hat. These she made into a parcel and carried to the wash room, brought in the telescope and packed it, hiding it under a workbench and covering it with shavings. After that she went to her room and wrote a note, and then slept ...
— A Daughter of the Land • Gene Stratton-Porter

... people of the dead star have moved to a very live star—Sirius, the brightest in our heavens. And they are as much alive now as their new sun. They can move faster than light, also. We had a little misunderstanding a while back, when their star passed close to ours. They came off second best, and we haven't spoken to them since. But I think we can make valuable ...
— Invaders from the Infinite • John Wood Campbell

... proceedings of this coalition and combination of Bogus Democrats, Foreign Pauper Advocates, and anti-Protestant lovers of Religious Liberty, we have looked in vain for the names of distinguished Tennesseeans, who ought to have been second best, to say the least of it, in the ballots for a nomination! It was that Aaron V. Brown, "the son of a now sainted father," was put in nomination for the office of Vice President, by a Mr. Brown, supposed to be his nephew; but making no run at all, he ...
— Americanism Contrasted with Foreignism, Romanism, and Bogus Democracy in the Light of Reason, History, and Scripture; • William Gannaway Brownlow

... preparation for which ample time was needed. They had had it in the winter, and had staked their hopes upon the success of their throw in March. Now they had to improvise, and their second thoughts were second best. There were, indeed, signs of indecision in Ludendorff's later moves. Possibly he regarded the Flanders offensive in April and the attack on the Chemin des Dames in May as diversions merely intended to draw reserves away from the Amiens front and facilitate a ...
— A Short History of the Great War • A.F. Pollard

... Rebecca's north chamber. Miss Martha was her aunt; you never saw her; she was dead and gone before your day. It was a silk old Cap'n Peter Lorimer, her brother, who left 'em his money, brought home from sea, and she had worn it for best and second best eleven year. It looked as good as new, and she never would have ripped it up if she could have matched it. I said it seemed to be a shame, but it was a curi's figure. Cap'n Manning fetched her one to pay for it ...
— Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... that in Mauban the water of the town fountain is used to produce the fine white straw. In the several years of his experience, Mr. Finnigan found no place outside of Mauban which produces straw equal in color to the Mauban straw, but he has noted that the second best straw comes from San Fernando, Gumaca, where there is an ...
— Philippine Mats - Philippine Craftsman Reprint Series No. 1 • Hugo H. Miller

... the cedar closet one day, looking for an old parade cap of mine, which, I thought, though it was my third best, might look better than my second best, which I had worn ever since my best was lost at the Seven Pines. I say I was standing on the lower shelf of the cedar closet, when, as I stepped along in the darkness, my right foot caught in a bit of wire, my left did not give way in time, and ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.) • Various

... myself to find fault. The words were submissive enough, but her manner announced that she had said her say, and would stick to it, though Herself, poor thing, must be humoured when she took the high horse. As usual, I retired from the conflict with a consciousness of coming off second best! ...
— The Lady of the Basement Flat • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... quick-tempered and impulsive, and in frequent fights—in which he generally came off second best; for he was fond of fighting with bigger boys than himself. Victor or vanquished, he never bore malice—nor woke it in others, which is worse. But he would slap a face almost as soon as look at it, on rather slight provocation, I'm ...
— The Martian • George Du Maurier

... from owning his own farm, or an old woman from cultivating her own garden, any more than anybody's real heart was in the heartless battle of the machines. The purpose of this chapter is sufficiently served in indicating that this proposal also is a pis aller, a desperate second best—like teetotalism. I do not propose to prove here that Socialism is a poison; it is enough if I maintain that it is a medicine and ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... in London the haggis was ten minutes late. It is said that it had had trouble with a dog on the way and had come off second best. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, November 10, 1920 • Various

... old cock," said Martlow, "I know you've got it writ up in there——" he jerked his head towards the hall—"that I'm the chief glory of Calderside, but damme if you're not the second best yourself, and I'll condescend to shake your hand if it's only to show ...
— The Best British Short Stories of 1922 • Edward J. O'Brien and John Cournos, editors

... thataway in less time than anybody I ever see before, you sit up on yore hunkers and tell me I'll have more'n I can swing at the finish. Say, you make me laugh! Listen, Lanpher, for a feller that's come out second best with the Bar S outfit as many times as you have it looks to me like you was ...
— The Heart of the Range • William Patterson White

... it," said the Back. "Now, you know, everybody knows you within ten miles by the name of the Button Boy, and I wouldn't seek any more notoriety if I was you—I'd be content to come in second best on leap-frog and say ...
— The Little Gold Miners of the Sierras and Other Stories • Various

... quality of Johnson's talk is its style. His command of language was such as that he seems never to have been at a loss; never to have fumbled, or hesitated, or fallen back upon the second best word; he saw instantly the point he wanted to make, and was instantly ready with the best words in which to make it. It was said of him that all his talk could be written down and printed without a correction. That would, indeed, be double-edged praise to give to most men: but with Johnson it ...
— Dr. Johnson and His Circle • John Bailey

... this frock pretty—it's only my second best—but I've a prettier one with lace all down in front; but isn't this one pretty, Clarence, ...
— A Waif of the Plains • Bret Harte

... and tried to tie up everything in the pink tape of optimism, the fact, in the psychology of the reader, still remains. The reader does still feel that David's marriage to Dora was a real marriage; and that his marriage to Agnes was nothing, a middle-aged compromise, a taking of the second best, a sort of spiritualised and sublimated marriage of convenience. For all the readers of Dickens Dora is thoroughly avenged. The modern world (intent on anarchy in everything, even in Government) refuses to perceive the permanent element of tragic constancy which inheres in all passion, and which ...
— Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens • G. K. Chesterton

... just after I had inspected the horses and particularly noticed one as the second best draught animal we had, I was requested by the overseer to look at him again, both bones of his near thigh having been broken by an unlucky kick from a mare. The horse had been with me on two former expeditions, and it was with great regret that I consented ...
— Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, Vol 2 (of 2) • Thomas Mitchell

... He told me about his childhood; how his brother was the favorite, and he was always second best, and ...
— Paul Patoff • F. Marion Crawford

... Even Nelly, the second best wife, who had had to play a very subordinate part in the camp, and whom "Little Jinny" had slapped and had abused with all the volubility of spite and temper, crouched beside her dying rival, chafing her cold hands and ...
— The Confessions of a Beachcomber • E J Banfield

... old white-haired professor left his stamp upon me. I loved him like all the rest; though I was not above playing a trick on the old fellow occasionally. Still he had a wit of his own and seldom came out second best, and when he lost out he could laugh like the next one. I was deeply impressed by him. As I took course after course under him I was convinced that for all of his dry philosophy the old fellow had a trick up his sleeve; he had a way of expounding ...
— The Blind Spot • Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint

... came into affairs. There was a kind of solemnity over the community, and a seriousness in all faces. At first these twilight assemblies offered a little relief to the monotony of farm life; and John liked to meet the boys and girls, and to watch the older people coming in, dressed in their second best. I think John's imagination was worked upon by the sweet and mournful hymns that were discordantly sung in the stiff old parlors. There was a suggestion of Sunday, and sanctity too, in the odor of caraway-seed that ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... a magnificent seat, but twice she nearly had him out of the saddle, and it is certain that if he had not been blest with almost inexhaustible staying power, combined with a pliant strength of muscle, he would have come off second best in the contest of wills, for the mare seemed tireless, and looked as though she could go on bucking—and enjoying the process, too—till the crack of doom. Finding, however, that she could not rid herself ...
— The Vision of Desire • Margaret Pedler

... lawfullie yssueinge; and for defalt of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the heires males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge; and for defalt of such issue, to the right heires of me the saied William Shakspeare for ever. Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture. Item, I gyve and bequeath to my saied daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goodes, chattels, leases, plate, jewels, and household stuffe whatsoever, after my dettes and legasies paied, and my funerall expenses dischardged, I give, devise, ...
— The Facts About Shakespeare • William Allan Nielson

... well-affected girl or woman. It is not a thing to be hired for money, nor contrivable on any wholesale plan. Possibly there may be ways of cherishing and nursing infants by wholesale that will keep them alive, but at best these are second best ways, and we are seeking the best possible. A very noble, exceptionally loving and quite indefatigable woman might conceivably direct the development of three or four little children from their birth onward, or, with very good assistance, even of six or seven at a time, as well as a good mother ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... party could live in the North that espoused the cause of this rebel aristocracy. Whoever was Governor or President, Democrat, Republican, Union, what not, the people's party was henceforth supreme, and the aristocracy, with all its works of darkness, was second best. ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... thought but scorn of, but we'd taken a sup together at the Ebbing Well, and it played neither of us false, so we held out against 'em all, and when they saw there was no help for it, they gave Bob the second best anvil and bellows for my portion, and ...
— Unknown to History - A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland • Charlotte M. Yonge

... five words, he ventured upon this protracted remark: "Guess the ole gal feels rather big since she got inter wot they call good s'ciety, eh?" This was in allusion to the recent successful speculation in tobacco, which had enabled Mr. Crull to buy the best house in Twenty-third street, and take the second best pew in a fashionable church, thereby placing Mrs. Crull at once within ...
— Round the Block • John Bell Bouton

... are separated, and I am not married to James the millionaire, which was your wish; so, after all, I do not come out second best in a fair trial ...
— Mabel's Mistake • Ann S. Stephens

... of caution, please; Better prepare your A, B, C's Than prowl around at dead of night. Don't rouse the beast in Daniel's breast; Perhaps you'll come out second best. ...
— Eugene Field, A Study In Heredity And Contradictions - Vol. I • Slason Thompson

... strange lands, strange men, strange pursuits," he told Martin. "Behold in me a rollicking blade of the sea; one who has matched wits with all races, all colors, and sometimes, alas, come off second best; one who has followed many occupations. A sailor—yes. A book agent—yes. Also, sir, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. A wooz, a wizard, a king of legerdemain. Student, ...
— Fire Mountain - A Thrilling Sea Story • Norman Springer

... till the gray hairs, and you may wall up your womanhood, but if a man has got manhood like him, he will never sit till the gray hairs. Grief over losin' the best will not stop him from searchin' for a second best after a while. He wants a home, and he has got a right to one,' says I to Miss Jessamine. 'You have not walled up Lin McLean,' I says to her. Wait, Lin, wait. Yus needn't to tell me that's a lie. I know a man thinks he's walled ...
— Lin McLean • Owen Wister

... army has once more come off second best in a general action. Gen. Greene being reinforced with a few small detachments of new levies, which gave the regular battalion a respectable appearance, and a sufficient number of militia to make his force apparently superior ...
— A sketch of the life and services of Otho Holland Williams • Osmond Tiffany

... engaged in the contest. Marriage and bridal pair were forgotten; and Klaus roared at the droll uproar till his throat smarted again: for, not much to his regret, he soon enough became aware that his enemies and his calumniators were the parties who were coming off second best. ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Vol. 56, No. 346, August, 1844 • Various

... unsymmetrical training, a training which checks the growth of the very faculties—imagination and sympathy—of which the instinct is largely compounded and for the sake of which it may almost be said to exist. At its second best, this costly education fosters the growth of the inquisitive instinct,—a grandly expansive instinct when trained in conjunction with the others, but one which is constrictive rather than expansive when ...
— What Is and What Might Be - A Study of Education in General and Elementary Education in Particular • Edmond Holmes

... much as possible from the king without yielding the real principle involved in Anselm's case. In the main point Walter was entirely successful. The man of violent temper is not often fitted for the personal conflicts of diplomacy; at least in the strife with the papal legate the king came off second best. It is more to be wondered at that a man of so acute a mind as William of St. Calais, who was now one of the king's most intimate advisers, ...
— The History of England From the Norman Conquest - to the Death of John (1066-1216) • George Burton Adams

... in Wine and Food (Winter, 1937): A creamy sheep's cheese which is encased in pine bark. My only criticism of this most excellent cheese is that the center must always remain a gastronomical second best. It is no more interesting than a good English Cheddar, while the outer crust has a scented, resinous flavor which ...
— The Complete Book of Cheese • Robert Carlton Brown

... as any well-educated man is on earth to-day, and no Trade Union will impose a limit to his activities. The world will be his Union. If the work he does best and likes best is not to be found, there is still the work he likes second best. Lacking his proper employment, he will turn to some ...
— A Modern Utopia • H. G. Wells

... might," pouted Annie. "You hardly ever give me anything, although you are my dearest friend. I made you a present of Clementina's second best hat for Christabel, and only yesterday I gave you that sweet bead ...
— Apples, Ripe and Rosy, Sir • Mary Catherine Crowley

... back from his fishing next day a little earlier than usual, changed his working-clothes for his second best suit, harnessed Daniel into the buggy, and then came into the house, and announced that he was going over to the Neck on an errand, and if Elsie wanted to go with him, he should be glad of her company. As this was but part of a pre-arranged scheme, the young lady declared that a ...
— Cap'n Eri • Joseph Crosby Lincoln

... not risen enough to repay with the ordinary profit the cost of producing an additional quantity, the increased value of the limited supply partakes of the nature of a scarcity value. Suppose that it will not answer to cultivate the second best land, or land of the second degree of remoteness, for a less return than 25s. the quarter; and that this price is also necessary to remunerate the expensive operations by which an increased produce might be raised from land of the first quality. If ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • John Stuart Mill

... was all but successful—but he was not successful. The vacancies in his year were few in number, only three, and of these two were preoccupied, according to the then rule of the place, by those heaven-born Wykamists, called founder's kin He was only the second best on the list, and ...
— The Bertrams • Anthony Trollope

... therefore, they selected the second best material which the forest afforded them—the tall "deodar." This tree, which is known to the Anglo-Indian residents of the Himalayan countries as the "cedar," has long since been introduced into English parks and arboretums, under the name of deodara—its specific botanical ...
— The Cliff Climbers - A Sequel to "The Plant Hunters" • Captain Mayne Reid

... definitely second best. Then light suddenly bursts on me and I lift my hand and hack ...
— The Lost Kafoozalum • Pauline Ashwell

... all. He met with an adventure while travelling for the Professor, in which a highwayman who undertook to rob him, came off second best, and he was thus enabled to add fifty dollars to his savings. His financial condition at the opening of the present story ...
— Risen from the Ranks - Harry Walton's Success • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... almost anything in the way of battle, murder, or sudden death, to the accompaniment of beautiful music; opera in true Italian style, at its second best. ...
— Operas Every Child Should Know - Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the Most Famous Masterpieces • Mary Schell Hoke Bacon

... assailant was out of the question. Haggerty was not only hard of head but shrewd. So he set about the accomplishment of the second best course, that of minute and particular investigation. Some one had entered this deserted house: for what? This, Haggerty must find out. He was fairly confident that the intruder did not know who had challenged him; on the other hand, there might be lying around ...
— The Voice in the Fog • Harold MacGrath

... snuff up the battle from afar, and feel an irresistible desire to rush into the middle of it. To be knocked on the head by a shell, merely to gratify one's curiosity, appears to me to be the utmost height of absurdity. Those who put themselves between the hammer and the anvil, come off generally second best, and I determined to defer my visit to the interesting village before me until the question whether it was to belong to Gaul or Teuton had been definitely decided. So I turned off to the left and went to ...
— Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris • Henry Labouchere

... washed her plates and cup a-Marketing. And banked the kitchen-fire up, Miss Thompson slipped upstairs and dressed, Put on her black (her second best), The bonnet trimmed with rusty plush, Peeped in the glass with simpering blush, From camphor-smelling cupboard took Her thicker jacket off the hook Because the day might turn to cold. Then, ready, slipped downstairs and rolled The hearthrug back; then searched about, ...
— Georgian Poetry 1920-22 • Various

... one. This led to a lively discussion on the subject of the Church, between him and two fellow-travellers, to whom I had been introduced at starting, as Waldenses. I observed that, although he appeared to come off but second best in the controversy, he bore all with unruffled humour, as if not unwilling to be beaten. At length, after a ride of twenty miles over the plain, in which the husbandman, with plough as old in its form ...
— Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber - Or The Influence of Romanism on Trade, Justice, and Knowledge • James Aitken Wylie

... analysed her own feelings, and found herself at a loss to know how to deal with the situation. To complain to Tony Standish seemed futile. Tony, if she told him what had happened, would, of course, be indignant and demand an explanation, and Myra felt sure in her own mind he would come off second best if there was a scene ...
— Bandit Love • Juanita Savage

... there's only one way out of it. God hasn't any first place and second place for the people that let him guide them. A man may refuse his call, either to go or to stay, and then no matter what he does it will be a second best. But you—wait for your call. For my part, I think probably you've got it, and it's to a very real life. If you and those like you should fail, we should soon have no more missionaries. And if the missionaries should ...
— John Wesley, Jr. - The Story of an Experiment • Dan B. Brummitt

... because he calls Charles the Great Charlemagne, or vice versa, he is constantly out of focus. The perfect reviewer would be (and the only reviewer whose reviews are worth reading is he who more or less approximates to this ideal) the Platonic or pseudo-Platonic philosopher who is "second best in everything," who has enough special knowledge not to miss merits or defects, and enough general knowledge to estimate the particular subject at, and not above, its relative value to the whole. There have been good critics who were unable to bring themselves ...
— Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860 • George Saintsbury

... in defence of President Johnson. He had an unfailing wit. You could never challenge him or provoke him to an encounter without making an abundant and sparkling stream gush forth. He never came off second best in an encounter of wits with any man. He was a man of great generosity, full of sympathy, charity, and kindliness. If his biography shall ever be properly written, it will be as delightful as that ...
— Autobiography of Seventy Years, Vol. 1-2 • George Hoar

... the 18th, we had split almost all the sails we had bent, which being our second best suit, we were now reduced to make use of our last and best set. To add to Captain Clerke's difficulties, the sea was in general so rough, and the ships so leaky, that the sail-makers had no place to repair the sails in, except his apartments, which in his declining state ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 • Robert Kerr

... are very kind, but that she cannot. I said everything I could; I told her she should wear Sophy's muslin mantle, or my second best polka.' ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... the staple article of diet. Best kind of bread. Objections to it. How groundless they are. Fondness, for hot, new bread not natural. Fondness of change. What it indicates. How it is caused. Train up a child in the way he should go. We can like what food we please. Second best kind of bread. Other kinds. Plain puddings. Indian cakes. Salt may be used, in moderate quantity, but no other condiments. Of butter, cheese, milk, &c. Potatoes, turnips, onions, beets, and other roots. Beans, peas, and asparagus. No fat ...
— The Young Mother - Management of Children in Regard to Health • William A. Alcott

... best, and the first luff knows what's second best. I dunno about Mr Munday, sir, but I wish some un else had my watch, that I do, sir. Our job burning out the black chief's place over yonder was a bit too hot a job, but I'd rather have orders to do the same sort o' thing again than be doing this here. It's too ...
— Hunting the Skipper - The Cruise of the "Seafowl" Sloop • George Manville Fenn

... we realize that in their hands, to a very large extent, lies the solving of the acutest problem of our race—the relation of the sexes. Will they fail us? Will they be content with a solution along lines that can only be called a second best? When we remember the clear-brained women in whose steps they follow, who opened the medical world for them, and whose spirits will for ever overshadow the women who walk in it, we know they will not ...
— Elsie Inglis - The Woman with the Torch • Eva Shaw McLaren

... sailmaker, like a Britisher, because a Bluenose has an all-round crew, every man of which is smart enough, either with the tools or with the fid and palm and needle, for ordinary work, while some are sure to be equal to any special job. She of course carries two suits of canvas, her new best and older second best. Each sail has required more skill than tailors need to make a perfect fit in clothes, because there is a constant strain on sails, exceeding, if possible, the strains on every other part. But before sail is made ...
— All Afloat - A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways • William Wood

... good many times. What do you think, Mrs. Lorraine, of a man who would give up his best gun to you, even though you couldn't shoot a bit, and he particularly proud of his shooting? And so if you lived with him for a month or six months—each day the best of everything for you, the second best for your friend, the worst for ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XII. No. 31. October, 1873. • Various

... in the sixth, the lament of King Aja in the eighth, the story of Dasharatha and the hermit youth in the ninth, the account of the ruined city in the sixteenth. Besides these, the Rama cantos, ten to fifteen, make an epic within an epic. And if Kalidasa is not seen at his very best here, yet his second best is of a higher quality than the best of others. Also, the Rama story is so moving that a mere allusion to it stirs like a sentimental memory of childhood. It has the usual qualities of a good epic story: abundance of travel and fighting and adventure ...
— Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works • Kaalidaasa

... dreams and visions as serenely and beautifully as he can. The statesman has to argue, to strive, to compromise, to convert if he can, to coerce if he cannot. It is a dusty encounter, and he must sacrifice grace and perhaps truth in the onset. He may gain his point, achieve the practicable and the second best; but he is an opportunist and a schemer, and he cannot make life into what he wills, but only into what he can manage. Of course the writer in a way risks more; he may reject the homely, useful task, and yet not have the strength to fit wings ...
— Escape and Other Essays • Arthur Christopher Benson

... banished from its pre-eminence as an introductory piece. 'To Marguerite' (I suppose you mean 'We were apart' and not 'Yes! in the sea') I had paused over, but my instinct was to strike it out, and now your suggestion comes to confirm this instinct, I shall act upon it. The same with 'Second Best.' It is quite true there is a horrid falsetto in some stanzas of the 'Gipsy Child'—it was a very youthful production. I have re-written those stanzas, but am not quite satisfied with the poem even now. 'Shakespeare' I have re-written. 'Cruikshank' I have re-titled, and re-arranged ...
— Matthew Arnold • G. W. E. Russell

... Conud, son of Iliach, the second best knight of the Red Branch and the most devoted to poetry of them all came that night into the hall while the rest slumbered. The candles were flickering in their sockets. Darkness invested the rest of the vast hollow-sounding chamber, but there ...
— The Coming of Cuculain • Standish O'Grady

... and interested, and who perverted the law: would not this be a still worse evil than the other? 'Certainly.' For the laws are based on some experience and wisdom. Hence the wiser course is, that they should be observed, although this is not the best thing of all, but only the second best. And whoever, having skill, should try to improve them, would act in the spirit of the law-giver. But then, as we have seen, no great number of men, whether poor or rich, can be makers of laws. And so, the nearest approach to true government is, when men ...
— Statesman • Plato

... which has its thickness at the third part .... The one which would be thinnest in the middle, would break ...; the one which is of equal thickness and of equal strength, is better for the edifice. The second best as to the usefulness will be the one whose greatest thickness is where it joins ...
— The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Complete • Leonardo Da Vinci

... upstairs and dressed and come down again, for I presently found myself standing in the dimly lighted lower hall wearing my second best suit and a fresh shirt and collar. But I have ...
— Humorous Ghost Stories • Dorothy Scarborough

... to bite back the threat which alone could have given her relief. Yet she did bite it back. Her triumph would be incomplete in ruining the man if he could not know that he owed his punishment to her. But she must be satisfied with the second best thing. She dared not put him on his guard, and she dared not let him guess that ...
— The Second Latchkey • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson



Words linked to "Second best" :   competition, competitor, rival, challenger, contender



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