play second fiddle to (someone)

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play second fiddle to (someone)

To have a role, position, or part that is less important than or subordinate to that of someone else. I'm really sick of playing second fiddle to this ignoramus—I'm the one who deserves to be the star of the show! She applied for the promotion, but it looks like she'll be playing second fiddle to Mark for the time being. Tom often felt like he was playing second fiddle to his older sister because of all her achievements in sports and academics.
See also: fiddle, play, second, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play second fiddle to

take a subordinate role to someone or something.
The expression derives from the respective roles of the fiddles or violins in an orchestra. Both play first fiddle and play third fiddle are much less common. The implication of playing second fiddle is often that it is somewhat demeaning.
1998 Times In A Yank at Oxford she played second fiddle to Vivien Leigh, which never got anyone very far.
See also: fiddle, play, second, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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