take a back seat

T

take a back seat

Meaning

  • to take a less significant role or position.
  • to enable someone else to take on a more important or active role than you do in a specific situation.
  • to step down from a position of responsibility.

Example Sentences

  1. I decided to take a back seat so as to let my boss handle the problem.
  2. My opinion might not be popular, in this case I’ll take a back seat on this one.
  3. I’m going to take a back seat in our company’s decision-making process.
  4. Rather than being seen to be the center of attention, I’m content to take a back seat.
  5. The owner of the business chose to take a back seat and let the board members run the company.

Origin

The phrase “take a back seat” first appeared in the mid-1800s, when it was popularized by William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair. To put simply, this expression suggests that somebody is taking on a less prominent position or role either literally or symbolically relative to others. It can be used to describe an individual who consents to take on a subordinate standing within an organization or occurrence, as well as someone agreeing with another person’s opinion instead of their own and subsequently putting themselves second in importance.

Ultimately, this sentiment promotes humility and respect for others. The phrase “take a back seat” has become prevalent in everyday conversation as it suggests one’s willingness to step aside from the center of attention and let someone else revel in their moment under the spotlight. It reminds us that by being humble and gracious, we can share our time with those who are keen on achieving success too.

Despite its antiquity, the saying “take a back seat” is still frequently used today to underscore not only the significance of sharing center stage but also demonstrating deference for those with opposing viewpoints.

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