on someone's coat-tails
on (one's) coattails
Benefiting from someone else's success; using someone else's success as a means to achieve one's own. Everyone knows you've been on the governor's coattails these last two years, but once her term ends, you'll be on your own. A: "I can't believe Jonathan got his paper published in that prestigious journal." B: "Oh, it's only because he's on his professor's coattails."
on someone's coat-tailsundeservedly benefiting from another's success.
1964 Economist Mr Robert Kennedy cannot be sure of riding the coat-tails of Mr Johnson in New York.
See also: on