In this newspaper article about a swiss pilot it says at the end:

On his travel blog he lists the most amazing moment in his life so far as having his two daughters. It may be safe to say this one could easily come in a close second or third.

I am not getting the second sentence, what does this mean?


The expression is making an analogy to a competition. When referring to winners and rankings after a competition, we say that the winner "came in first place," meaning that they were ranked first out of all competitors. Likewise, the second best performance (who did not perform as well as first place, but outperformed all others) "came in second place."

In general, to say that something "came in a close second" suggests that while it wasn't as good as first place, it was almost as good and still very worthy of attention.

It can be contrasted with saying that someone won "by a mile" or "by a landslide", phrases which imply that the second place was not nearly as good as first place.


To describe a runner crossing the line only inches behind another you'd say,"he came in a close second". With your pilot, whatever "this one" means (obviously some experience he's just had), he is saying that it is so good that it is close to being the best experience, or at least close to being the second-best experience. Thus "a close second or third".


In this case, the implication of stating to "easily come in a close second or third" is sociological acknowledgement that the euphoria of any personal achievement will always be secondary to the palmary achievement of the birth of his children.

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