A distant second

In a ranking, a distant second is in second place, but is a long way from first place



DefinitionYour turn

In a ranking based on a numerical score, there’s someone (or something) in first place and someone (or something) in second place. Sometimes, there is just a small difference between first and second place. However other times, there is a large gap between the first-place finisher and the second-place finisher. If that’s true, you can say the second-place person (or thing) finished (or is) a distant second.

In competitive chess, the highest level for an individual is grandmaster. There are grandmasters in many countries, but Russia has the most, at 256. The United States is in second place, but the U.S. has only 101 grandmasters. Because there is a big gap between first (256) and second (101), we say the U.S. is a distant second.

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