second fiddle

noun

Definition of second fiddle

: one that plays a supporting or subservient role

Examples of second fiddle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Renfield has been portrayed in adaptations of Stoker's most enduring character as long as Dracula himself, from Bela Lugosi's immortal 1931 film to the 2020 BBC One Dracula miniseries, but he's always had to play second fiddle to old fangs. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 1 Dec. 2021 Test Kitchen came up with this dynamite slab pie as a way to celebrate pears, which often play second fiddle to apples in fall desserts. oregonlive, 18 Nov. 2021 Bass, Beats and Books Playing second fiddle to Beyoncé isn’t a bad gig, even when the actual instrument is bass guitar. New York Times, 11 Nov. 2021 For the majority of his time in the league, Eichel has been playing second fiddle to Connor McDavid, who went before him at No. 1 overall in 2015 to the Edmonton Oilers. Mary Clarke, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2021 The Ether cryptocurrency may play second fiddle to Bitcoin, but its market cap is getting close to overtaking the most famous virtual coin. David Meyer, Fortune, 29 Oct. 2021 Jeter was the rookie among a collection of old heads, projected either for Cooperstown or as second fiddle in his own town, what with the flashy Rey Ordonez manning shortstop in Queens. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 These same companies often throw most of their marketing budget behind paid, email or product marketing channels — which leaves content marketing playing second fiddle. Melissa Zehner, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 In Western European capitals, the pact provides yet another reminder of how Washington’s interests diverge from their own and that the European Union may have to play second fiddle as the United States shifts its strategic focus further toward Asia. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of second fiddle

1809, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About second fiddle

Time Traveler for second fiddle

Time Traveler

The first known use of second fiddle was in 1809

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near second fiddle

second estate

second fiddle

second-first

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for second fiddle

Last Updated

6 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Second fiddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/second%20fiddle. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on second fiddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for second fiddle

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!