take a backseat

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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

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

take a back seat

Occupy an inferior position; allow another to be in control. For example, Linda was content to take a back seat and let Nancy run the meeting. This idiom uses back seat in contrast to the driver's seat, that is, the one in control. [Mid-1800s]
See also: back, seat, take

take a back seat

COMMON
1. If you take a back seat, you allow other people to have all the power, importance, or responsibility. I was happy to take a back seat and give someone else the opportunity to manage the project. I always used to take a back seat and let people get on with it.
2. If one thing takes a back seat to another, people give the first thing less attention because it is less important or interesting than the other thing. It is true that in the Apollo programme science took a back seat to technology and engineering. As the novel progresses, the war takes a back seat to the growing romance between Harvey and Martha.
See also: back, seat, take

take a back seat

take or be given a less important position or role. Compare with in the driver's seat (at driver).
See also: back, seat, take

take a back ˈseat

change to a less important role or function: After forty years in the business, it’s time for me to take a back seat and let someone younger take over. OPPOSITE: in the driving seat
See also: back, seat, take

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Cheltenham takes a backseat just for a moment on Saturday when the feature race, the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, is instead a recognised trial for the Grand National.
The Dakhla Oasis hosts several Nubian villages, and, as you can see from the photo, technology takes a backseat to nature.
In watching Jim Crow, rich historical description takes a backseat to trying-to-get-university-tenure theory.
All this takes a backseat when Angarred learns of the stone--the King's magician wants it along with other kingdoms and races want it for the power it can wield.
In The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack, music inevitably takes a backseat to cha rmingly ornery personality, to the lure of the open road and the idea that "out there" in the American cosmology, a nice Grand-Ole-Opry-loving Jewish kid could grow up to live out his boyhood dreams and transform himself into a roving emblem of hardscrabble, salt-of-the-earth authenticity.
However, that past-life vision and its effect on Regina and Blue's budding romance takes a backseat to the many social and political questions the book raises, such as whether of not a man's private life should impact his legacy, how greed and ambition threaten to overshadow the common good, and the role private citizens should take in improving their neighborhoods.