second banana


Definition of second banana

: 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 Brad Pitt, meanwhile, gives a pained but amusing performance as second banana Cliff Booth, Dalton’s former stuntman who now mostly just drives him around and cares for his house. Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, "The definitive ranking of Quentin Tarantino films, from worst to best," 30 July 2019 But the Joker has never been one to play second banana, and any mastermind who leaves him out of their grand plans usually ends up paying the price. Christian Holub,, "John Carpenter is writing a Joker comic for DC," 12 July 2019 For Jared Paul Stern, who at the time was second banana at the Post’s influential Page Six column, the ancillary business was fashion design. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Why It Makes Perfect Sense That Billionaire Ron Burkle Would Buy The Enquirer," 11 Apr. 2019 And Lilly’s Wasp is a fairly captivating second banana: The script—credited to no fewer than five writers, one of them Rudd—is culturally astute enough to allow Wasp to save Ant-Man’s hapless ass more than once. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp Has Stakes as Small as Its Superheroes But It’s Hard to Dislike," 3 July 2018 James dragged a shifting, problematic Cavaliers roster to the Finals with journeyman Jeff Green playing second banana in Game 7 of the conference finals because of an injury to Kevin Love. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As NBA Finals begin, where do Bucks fit in the contender conversation in the East?," 30 May 2018 And maybe even Harvey Korman because Harvey had been a second banana on the Danny Kaye show. Lorraine Ali,, "The ever-youthful Carol Burnett talks about her show with kids on Netflix," 10 May 2018 Without their former second banana, the Cavs trail Indiana, 2-1. Bill Livingston,, "Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: Is this one of LeBron's weakest supporting casts?: Bill LIvingston (photos, video)," 21 Apr. 2018 Caribbean beaches are justifiably world famous, but the region’s resort pools are no second banana. Melanie Reffes, USA TODAY, "Best pools in the Caribbean, 2018 edition," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'second banana.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of second banana

1953, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for second banana

Time Traveler

The first known use of second banana was in 1953

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Statistics for second banana

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Second banana.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for second banana

second banana


English Language Learners Definition of second banana

US, informal : a someone who is not as important or powerful as another person

Comments on second banana

What made you want to look up second banana? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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