second fiddle


: one that plays a supporting or subservient role

Examples of second fiddle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web She’s given a grim prognosis but refuses to disclose her dementia to her loyal assistant (Kathy Bates) and daughter (Lily Rabe), who has always played second fiddle to Lillian’s career. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 22 May 2024 The Guard members — as well as State and MTA Police officers — are playing second fiddle to the NYPD, which remains in charge of subway security, transit officials said. Evan Simko-Bednarski, New York Daily News, 9 Mar. 2024 Being one of the world’s most famous video-game characters and simultaneously one of the world’s most famous sidekicks makes Luigi a fascinating role for Driver to tackle, larger than life and second fiddle all at once. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 5 Jan. 2024 Increasingly assertive regional powers no longer want to play second fiddle to Washington. Dalia Dassa Kaye, Foreign Affairs, 17 Aug. 2023 See all Example Sentences for second fiddle 

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 14 Jul. 2024.

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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