Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a collection of five objects as a series. Clearly, I can order these objects by my preferences. I distinctly prefer two of the objects over the others. I say the first two objects of my preference are my favorites, but the first is my most favorite object.

How should I name the rest of the objects with one word, and how do I present my lesser preferred object the same way (one word)?

I do not dislike my lesser preferred object, but what if I did? How would that change the relevant describing word?

share|improve this question
    
Your question is not only difficult to answer from an English perspective, but it also highlights why rank-ordering is such a poor survey mechanism. Each of us could rank-order five items, but there's no way to tell if #4 on our lists is liked very much (only slightly less then the top three items), or disliked very much (only loathed a little less intensely than the one on the bottom). It's hard to say how I'd describe #4 – not liked quite as much, nowhere near my favorite, almost as good, only so-so – these and many more could all be valid ways to describe #4, depending on how I liked it. –  J.R. Aug 1 '12 at 10:09
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am not sure about this question insofar as it seems to be searching for a solution where there is no real problem. In fact, I can't think of a situation where we would name each degree of preference. Better to say my favourites in order of preference are (or favorites, of course). One further thought - your favourite is your favourite, the opposite is your least favourite.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Like.

"Like" means that you enjoy using/consuming the object in question, however the inherent connotations of the word "like" do not outweigh those of the word "favor".

Your "favorite(s)" would be items that you would choose over other items, even those that you like. An item you "like" is one that you would choose from a larger set.

For Example

Out of all the edible plant matter in the world, I like fruit, however pears are my favorite.

Things that you "like" are items you select from a larger group, and are objects that you prefer over other objects in general, however a "favorite" is an object that you would select from a list of things that you like.

In the example, the set of objects "edible plant matter" refers to fruits, vegetables, berries, herbs, spices, etc. Like narrows down the selection of the larger group to a smaller group, "Fruits".

From the smaller group of "Fruits", I define my "favorite" as pears.

In parallel to your example, that would mean that the group of 5 objects are objects that you like, however the one that occupies slot #1 is your "most favorite", while the one that occupies slot #2 is simply your "favorite", which means that the remaining three can be defined as objects you "like" or "liked objects", or it you want to pare it down further (:D) to a more specific term, use "regard" or "desire".

For Example

Object 1 is my Most Favorite, Object 2 is my Favorite, Objects 3, 4 and 5 are my Desires.

Hope this answer wasn't too long, and I sincerely hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I cannot think of one-word answers that mean "second favorite" and "less than favorites". In fact, the concept you are expressing is kind of vague—do you feel good or bad about your non-favorites?

To simply express not favorite, I like exactly that: non-favorites.

There is also your second favorite.

And finally, hated things might be your blacklisteds, least favorites, or unwanteds. No really reasonable words besides least favorites shows up for me.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you really like the first item, you can say: "This is the ultimate!" Then for the next item, "This is the penultimate!" (And so forth down the line with antepenultimate, preantepenultimate, and propreantepenultimate, as noted in "Coordinate terms" section of latter link.)

share|improve this answer
    
Hm, I interpret your answer as: "The one you like most call ultimate, the second most as penultimate, and so on." But following your link to penultimate it sounds as it would used 'negatively', i.e. from the point of view of the least likable one. –  Em1 Aug 1 '12 at 8:55
    
Ultimate and its derivatives typically are used positively; for example, as in common phrase "ultimate adventure bucket list", where the highest-rated trip would be ultimate, the second-highest-rated penultimate, and so forth. While positive usage is typical, the terms themselves are value-agnostic and merely refer to order. For example, one could also refer to "the ultimate humiliation", "the penultimate humiliation", and so on. –  jwpat7 Aug 1 '12 at 14:29
add comment

The opposite of favorite in many cases would be worst [X], but English also has a number of words which represent worst for a specific class, such as "archenemy" for your worst enemy, or "runt" for the least healthy in a litter of animals. There are a large number of derogatory terms which fit this definition.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.