Definition of play second fiddle to in US English:

play second fiddle to


  • Take a subordinate role to someone or something in a way often considered demeaning.

    ‘she had to play second fiddle to the interests of her husband’
    • ‘Playing in Chelsea's reserves isn't conditioning Parker to be an England international as he plays second fiddle to an expensive import.’
    • ‘The walls of the Flynn home, where Padraig, believe it or not, plays second fiddle to Dorothy, is cluttered with paintings and art works and is testimony to his interest in art.’
    • ‘Thankfully, this drearily predictable comedy of social class plays second fiddle to the drama's more compelling exploration of the metamorphoses of both Rita and her relationship with Frank.’
    • ‘She no longer has to play second fiddle to her husband, and more importantly, is free to wear high heels once again.’
    • ‘The interest in gooey bobs, pink worms, corkies, yarn and roe, though still topical, now plays second fiddle to trout-related discussion.’
    • ‘Yet Senegal, a nation of three million souls, have announced their arrival on the world stage and the Republic of Ireland, where football plays second fiddle to the Gaelic sports, are also through to the second round.’
    • ‘He followed that up by justifying his new role at Barcelona, where he plays second fiddle in the creative stakes to Ronaldinho.’
    • ‘After a year of shooting and research, this powerful documentary exposes the greasy facts: Canadian democracy plays second fiddle to the tune of big-money, mega-farm hog exports.’
    • ‘To Labor, Australia's well-being plays second fiddle to the decisions of really important international committees.’
    • ‘However to the credit of all the players they upped the level of their performance several notches on the turnover and for lengthy second half spells had Wexford playing second fiddle.’