second fiddle


: one that plays a supporting or subservient role

Examples of second fiddle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But fertilizer management plays second fiddle to a different kind of climate project in the PCSC. Matt Reynolds, WIRED, 5 Sep. 2023 But Saturday night was the first instance in memory at which either played second fiddle here to a large, new, outdoor concrete edifice. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Sep. 2023 The running game will most likely play second fiddle to a high-powered passing attack. Michael Haag, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2023 The eight candidates duking it out to play second fiddle to Donald Trump, who skipped the event to pack for his trip to the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Thursday and to gloat about his front-runner status, were oblivious to the ironies surrounding them. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 But the featured players are second fiddle to the Mayhem themselves, who have historically played second banana to characters like Fozzie Bear or Miss Piggy. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 10 May 2023 Despite playing second fiddle in the arsenal industry to companies in the West, South Korean companies like Hanwha have a comparative advantage in their production capabilities. Joohee Cho, ABC News, 20 Apr. 2023 After a lifetime of playing second fiddle, Ken learns about the patriarchy and returns to Barbieland to install his own government while Barbie is still in California trying to repair the space-time continuum. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 26 July 2023 Harris also said that in other cities, large theater companies’ obsession with funding expensive building projects was problematic and caused artistry to play second fiddle to the bottom line, making companies increasingly dependent on the whims of wealthy, often out-of-touch board members. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 17 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'second fiddle.' 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

1809, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of second fiddle was in 1809

Dictionary Entries Near second fiddle

Cite this Entry

“Second fiddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

second fiddle

: a person who fills a secondary role

More from Merriam-Webster on second fiddle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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