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second fiddle

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n second fiddle a secondary role or function "he hated to play second fiddle to anyone"
    • n second fiddle someone who serves in a subordinate capacity or plays a secondary role
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Idioms

Play second fiddle - If you play second fiddle, you take a subordinate role behind someone more important.
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Usage

In literature:

Over at the Fair Harbor Captain Sears found himself playing a very small second fiddle.
"Fair Harbor" by Joseph Crosby Lincoln
I will not play a second fiddle to your little husband.
"The Root of Evil" by Thomas Dixon
She was so accustomed to play second fiddle that nobody noticed.
"A Patriotic Schoolgirl" by Angela Brazil
I won't play second fiddle to such a fellow as he is, and that's all there is to it.
"The Flag" by Homer Greene
But I'm no 'second fiddle' even if that other fellow is!
"Polly's Business Venture" by Lillian Elizabeth Roy
Playing second fiddle did not suit her ambitious temperament.
"Elizabeth Hobart at Exeter Hall" by Jean K. Baird
I don't object to playing second fiddle, but when it comes to holding the triangle for the drummer, I pass blind.
"Letters of a Dakota Divorcee" by Jane Burr
No fellow cares about playing second fiddle at his own wedding.
"The Giant's Robe" by F. Anstey
With this woman he was always subdued, always made to play second fiddle, always talked like a boy; and he knew it.
"Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite" by Anthony Trollope
He's not one to play second fiddle, so to speak.
"The Hound From The North" by Ridgwell Cullum
Did I stand ready to play second fiddle to her?
"Phemie Frost's Experiences" by Ann S. Stephens
I plan for myself some greater office than second fiddle in this tawdry republic along the Atlantic.
"The Magnificent Adventure" by Emerson Hough
He plays second fiddle to Shanks.
"The Rushton Boys at Rally Hall" by Spencer Davenport
Teresina was the one whom he chiefly devoted himself to, and, to my no small disgust, I found myself quite playing second fiddle.
"The Serapion Brethren," by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann
For it was the Great Blast of the Horn of the Fairies, which only plays second fiddle to the last trump.
"Legends of Florence Collected from the People, First Series" by Charles Godfrey Leland
I'm getting to be a second fiddle around here.
"The Orphan" by Clarence E. Mulford
When Jap marries I'll play second fiddle.
"Jap Herron" by Emily Grant Hutchings
The English were there, certainly; they were very useful, but they played second fiddle to their allies on most occasions.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 355, May 1845" by Various
It would be a bad business if you got a wife to whom you would have to play second fiddle.
"Joseph in the Snow, and The Clockmaker" by Berthold Auerbach
The Admiral plays a little, and having unearthed another fiddle has come in as second violin.
"The Secrets of a Kuttite" by Edward O. Mousley
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In news:

Lynn Wells, accompanied by Gene Stephens on guitar, fiddles his way to a second-place finish in the open division at the Old Time Fiddle Contest Saturday afternoon at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair.
Olympic men's basketball plays second fiddle to Howard trade.
No second fiddle for Second 500 chain retailers.
Guitar plays second fiddle as Nashville symbol.
Sixers don't need a second fiddle like Iguodala.
Two Former 'Friends' Stars Now Playing Second Fiddle to 'High School Musical' Actors.
Networks playing second fiddle to cable news outlets.
SECOND FIDDLE Rosanne Parry Random House Books for Young Readers $16.99, 240 pages.
Obama will seek to convince Japan, a critical military ally, that it's not second fiddle to China.
Laguna Beach, like most of Orange County, has played second fiddle to Los Angeles for a long time, radio-wise.
Salads often play second fiddle at a dinner party.
Sen Dan "Blade" Morrish, R-Jennings, doesn't want his region playing second fiddle anymore in the state's developing coastal protection plans.
Though it was once America's dominant import car brand, Volkswagen has long played second fiddle to Honda and Toyota, among others.
Should Social Issues Play Second Fiddle in 2012.
When it comes to influencing your salon's sales, your environment plays second fiddle only to your service providers' retail skills.
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