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.
Atsu, who has had to play second fiddle to a number of other options in Newcastle's attack this season kept his place in the team after an impressive display in the draw against Everton in midweek.
Their ambition and ideals for a just and fairer Wales are relentlessly subsumed by party politics; and Plaid Cymru will always have to play second fiddle to their allegiance to Westminster and the English Crown.
The question is, are you prepared to play second fiddle? He probably is tired when he not the right person for you.
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.
How long will hubby Ray be happy to play second fiddle?
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.