play second fiddle


Also found in: Idioms.

play second fiddle

To be in a supporting or subservient role to someone else; from an orchestra in which the first violinist holds the most important position.
References in classic literature ?
Nicholson was ambitious for his family (in which, and the Disruption Principles, he entirely lived), and he hated to see a son of his play second fiddle to an idler.
Xabi is in a similar situation, where he will play second fiddle to new signing Toni Kroos for the coming campaign.
Ronaldo has won the award once before, back in 2008 while at Manchester United, but since then he has had to play second fiddle to Messi in the voting, finishing runner-up three times as the Argentinian claimed the crown four times.
Verdict Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs lost out to Flemenstar in a virtual match for this last season and while he doesn't have that rival to contend with here, he may play second fiddle again.
Imagine howwonderful itwould be if Peel Holding''s development were that good that the Three Graces did play second fiddle to the buildings?
Summary: Comedian and actor Russell Brand had to play second fiddle to the Dalai Lama on Saturday night.
Gibbon had to play second fiddle to Talbot Ladies Open title holder Maureen Perkins at the last-32 stage, losing out 21-17 to the eventual champion, who went on to defeat Mid Cheshire's Wendy Allen 21-16 in the final.
Gold admitted the cup has to play second fiddle to West Ham staying in the Premier League.
At a Republic of Ireland press conference looking ahead to tomorrow's friendly with Argentina, Given made it clear he is not prepared to play second fiddle to Joe Hart.
Ferrari's decision has effectively ensured Massa will now have to play second fiddle to Alonso for the remainder of the season.
They've supported The Answer and The Enemy but won't play second fiddle for long.
But he has had to play second fiddle to Benoit Assou-Ekotto this campaign.