take a back seat

idiomatic phrase

variants or take a backseat
: to have or assume a secondary position or status : to be or become less important, active, or powerful
Howard loved directing "more than I even thought I would," and his acting career has taken a back seat ever since.Newsweek
That's why Bryant's willingness to tone down his game is significant. It doesn't mean, however, that he's content to take a backseat indefinitely.Phil Taylor
often used with to
Physically and emotionally, these guys take a back seat to no one.Mark Vancil

Examples of take a back seat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Overall, the health needs of women in Bangladesh take a back seat to those of men. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Extracurricular activities, like a strained debate about the appropriateness of trash talking, can now take a back seat for women’s basketball. Sean Gregory, TIME, 2 Apr. 2024 The Brooklyn lineup of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella, all Hall of Famers, takes a back seat to no one. Los Angeles Times, 23 Mar. 2024 For the next several months, the Willard inquiry, led by Mr. Cooney, took a back seat to another high-profile, high-risk effort: drafting novel seditious conspiracy charges against the leaders of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys for their roles in the Capitol attack. Adam Goldman, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 But politics take a back seat to Jagna’s more lurid, even tragic predicament, which isn’t exactly a love story, either, except perhaps an unrequited one. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2024 But just as shoulder pads were gradually removed from garments, cupcakes have taken a back seat to other cake styles, from naked cakes, to more recently, Victorian or Lambeth piped cakes. Alana Al-Hatlani, Southern Living, 24 Feb. 2024 But this took a back seat to Nvidia’s blowout top and bottom-line numbers and its forward guidance which occurred after Wednesday’s (February 21st) market close. Robert Barone, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 And in this race, as with the clipper ship captains, caution might take a back seat to speed. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 20 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'take a back seat.' 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

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of take a back seat was in 1838

Dictionary Entries Near take a back seat

Cite this Entry

“Take a back seat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20a%20back%20seat. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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