second fiddle

a secondary role: to play second fiddle to another person.
a person serving in a subsidiary capacity, especially to one immediately superior.

1825–35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
second fiddle
1.  a.  the second violin in a string quartet or one of the second violins in an orchestra
 b.  the musical part assigned to such an instrument
2.  a secondary status
3.  a person who has a secondary status

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

second fiddle

see play second fiddle.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
Idioms & Phrases
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