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second fiddle

a secondary role:
to play second fiddle to another person.
a person serving in a subsidiary capacity, especially to one immediately superior.
Origin of second fiddle
1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for second fiddle
  • But here his role is limited, too often leaving him playing second fiddle to this film's weirdly hypnotic special effects.
  • But one thing that strikes me is that my smartness seems to play second fiddle.
  • Sunnis have to accept that as the minority sect they will play second fiddle.
  • Business or strategic interests may also on their agenda, but are playing second fiddle.
  • Newcomers don't play second fiddle to the genre's.
  • She quieted talk that her multiple outside interests would mean playing second fiddle to more dedicated peers.
  • Swimming trunks and sunscreen play second fiddle to backpacks and protractors.
  • They've certainly been second fiddle to the warlords' armies.
  • Geodetic leveling has always played second fiddle to horizontal surveys.
British Dictionary definitions for second fiddle

second fiddle

noun (informal)
  1. the second violin in a string quartet or one of the second violins in an orchestra
  2. the musical part assigned to such an instrument
a secondary status
a person who has a secondary status
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for second fiddle

second fiddle


: a sort of second-fiddle appointment


A person or thing that is not the most favored, the best, the leader, etc: definitely second fiddle before the Convention started (1809+)

Related Terms

play second fiddle

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with second fiddle

second fiddle

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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