second banana

noun

: a comedian who plays a supporting role to a top banana
broadly : a person in a subservient position

Examples of second banana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web First introduced in the ’60s, the Teen Titans are a group of superpowered young ‘uns traditionally led by Batman’s second banana Robin, fighting alongside heroes like Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 15 Mar. 2024 Just as Lone Ranger needed Tonto, so many pop culture icons wouldn't have half their appeal without these top-notch second bananas — see why Chewbacca, Turtle, Willow, and more made the cut. Ew Staff Updated, EW.com, 6 Mar. 2024 The show was built around Vaughn’s debonair American agent, Napoleon Solo, with Mr. McCallum’s character initially envisioned as little more than a cerebral second banana from the Soviet Union. Frances Vinall, Washington Post, 26 Sep. 2023 Trump himself has reveled in the notion that his Republican rivals are motivated by nothing more than the dream of being his second banana during a MAGA restoration. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 11 Sep. 2023 Reavis 3-0 (NR) Junior midfielder Diego Ochoa is the perfect second banana to Ahmed Dhalai. Patrick Z. McGavin, Chicago Tribune, 29 Aug. 2023 As many as eight candidates will vie for the enviable role of second banana to Donald Trump and the right to be pummeled into submission by the former president, at least for the next month or so. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 21 Aug. 2023 Gerwig pointed out in the article that Ken’s second banana status is sort of like the Bible in reverse. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 24 May 2023 What audiences respond to in them is the interplay of Adam Sandler, as a grump with a chip on his shoulder but an even larger sense of loyalty, and Jennifer Aniston, as a sweetheart who is done being life’s second banana. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 31 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'second banana.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of second banana was in 1953

Dictionary Entries Near second banana

Cite this Entry

“Second banana.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/second%20banana. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

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