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backseat driver

1. A passenger in a vehicle (not necessarily in the backseat) who attempts to instruct the driver or criticize their driving skills. John quickly became annoyed at Mary's tendency to become a backseat driver whenever he drove her somewhere, so he just began to let her drive.
2. By extension, someone who tries to establish and maintain control over every situation. Primarily heard in US. Although Mary was capable of completing the project on her own, John couldn't stop himself from being a backseat driver and telling her what to do.
See also: backseat, driver

take a backseat

1. To be given a lower priority. Unfortunately, I had the flu last week, so everything else around the house had to take a back seat.
2. To willingly take a less prominent role in some situation. I took a back seat during the presentation because I knew you could handle it.
See also: backseat, take
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

backseat driver

Fig. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don't need any backseat driver on this project. Stop pestering me with all your advice. Nobody likes a backseat driver!
See also: backseat, driver

take a backseat (to someone or something)

Fig. to become less important than someone or something else. My homework had to take a backseat to football during the playoffs. Jimmy always took a backseat to his older brother, Bill, until Bill went away to college.
See also: backseat, take
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

backseat driver

A passenger who gives unwanted and/or unneeded directions to the driver; also, a person who interferes in affairs without having knowledge, responsibility, or authority for doing so. For example, Aunt Mary drives us all crazy with her instructions; she's an incurable backseat driver. This term originated in the United States in the 1920s, when it was first used for a passenger legitimately directing a chauffeur, and it was quickly transferred to figurative use. Also see the synonym Monday-morning quarterback and the antonym take a back seat.
See also: backseat, driver
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

backseat driver

n. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don’t need any backseat driver on this project.
See also: backseat, driver
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

backseat driver

A passenger who gives unasked-for and usually unwanted advice to the driver of a vehicle; by extension, anyone who interferes without having real responsibility or authority. The term originated in the United States during the 1920s, when many automobiles were chauffeur-driven and their passengers sat in the backseat, often quite legitimately telling the chauffeur where to go. Today the passenger’s location is irrelevant, the term being principally figurative. It has largely replaced the older armchair general. See also Monday-morning quarterback and the very different take a backseat.
See also: backseat, driver

take a backseat, to

To occupy an inferior or relatively obscure position. Equating the backseat of a vehicle with inferiority dates from mid-nineteenth century America. Max Beerbohm used the figure of speech in Around Theatres (1902): “He brought on a circus procession . . . and Oxford had to take a back seat.”
See also: take, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
* By reducing chirps from backseat drivers, driver-assist technology can help reduce relationship tensions in the car for a more harmonious ride
She was then made to sit in the backseat and her mobile phone was taken.
London [UK], November 15 ( ANI ): Hollywood actor Christian Bale, who is known for making drastic physical transformations for his movies, has once again stunned everyone with his look for his upcoming movie 'Backseat'.
The centre backseat is equipped with a load-through that enables the backrest of each seat to be folded down individually.
Asked if Johnson was backseat driving, she replied: "Yes, you could call it backseat driving, absolutely."
As the new traffic law is now live, our police officers will first warn the passengers who are not wearing seat belts in the backseat before issuing a fine.
we seized 10 bags full of amphetamine pills in the backseat. During questioning the suspects alleged that they had been cooperating with a Saudi person based in their country ...
In the bathroom I tell Backseat what Flynn told me about the pitching change.
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Backseat Acoustic Club Hosted by Paul Dunbar, above, lead singer of The Midnight Ramble, the Backseat Acoustic Club returns to The Railway, featuring top acoustic talent, plus open mic slots, too.
The taxi firm's Backseat Art scheme has launched in six cities across the UK in the past few weeks with Newcastle being the final one and following in the footsteps of Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and London.
Heroin was hidden in a compartment in the backseat of the lorry
Investigators said that the officer issued the teenager a ticket on Friday night and placed him in the backseat of his patrol car to verify outstanding warrants, The Independent reported.
Mom-invented MyBuckleMate makes it easy for anyone to buckle up in the backseat with one hand (just like you do in the driver's seat).