Take a back seat

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Take a back seat is an idiom that may be older than you think. We will examine the meaning of the phrase take a back seat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To take a back seat means to take or be put into a position of less power or subordination. The idiom take a back seat refers to the seats in the rear of a theater, church, bus or car, which are inferior. Obviously, someone sitting in back seats cannot see or hear the action as well as someone sitting in the front seats. The term was used in a figurative sense in America as early as the 1850s. Related terms are takes a back seat, taken a back seat, took a back seat, taking a back seat.


While Lagundzija and ASUS Vice-President, Stefan Negus are very present throughout the week, they take a back seat during the planning stage of Orientation Week. (The Queens Journal)

According to IB Times, although the former president will be somewhat sidetracked, he is unlikely to take a back seat while his wife has control of the White House. (The Christian Post)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The taxi app Grab has been given an additional $2 billion in financing, revealing the intense competition among car services in Asia that have forced companies like Uber to take a back seat to rivals with extremely deep-pockets. (U.S. News & World Report)

A medical doctor by training, Dr. Karzai had very little public presence during the first years of Mr. Karzai’s presidency, and she took a back seat completely for much of the remaining years. (The New York Times)