sub·or′di·nate·ness. sub·or′di·na′tion (-nā′shən) n.
sub·or′di·na′tive (-nə′tĭv) adj.
bench warmer A substitute or replacement; a second- or third-stringer; an idler or observer, as opposed to a participant. The term comes from sports, where it applies to those players not proficient enough to make the first team and who consequently spend most of a game sitting on the bench. The expression has also been used for hobos who while away the time on park benches.
on a back burner See ABEYANCE .
play second fiddle To play a subordinate role, to serve in a secondary capacity; to be of inferior rank or status, to be second best or second rate. Violinists, as well as other musicians in orchestras and bands, are generally categorized into classes of first, second, and third. First is comprised
of the best musicians who play the lead parts; second and third consist of musicians of lesser ability who play subordinate parts.
She had inherited from her mother an extreme objection to playing, in any orchestra whatever, the second fiddle. (James Payn, A Grape from a Thorn )
take a back seat To occupy an inferior or subordinate position; to be put aside in favor of someone or something more important. The expression probably derives from the practice of preferential seating at public functions, where the front seats are always reserved for VIP’s and other persons of note, while less socially significant persons have to take the seats to the rear and consequently enjoy a less advantageous view of the proceedings. The phrase appeared in its figurative sense as early as 1859 in Harper’s Magazine .