Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

take a back seat

take a back seat
Meaning(s)
1) take or be given a less important job or role
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • he was asked/told to take a back seat
  • Analysis
     If something 'takes a back seat' it means to become less important or not to be a priority. "The design work should take a back seat to the content." You might also volunteer to 'take a back seat' if you wish to have less control over or responsibility for something. "I am happy to take a back seat on this one, Maria has much more experience in this area." This expression is related to 'to be in the driver's seat'. To be in the driver's seat is to be in control of driving a car and be responsible for making decisions.  If you are in the backseat you have no such responsibility or influence.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. Due to his repeated interference in other people's work, Paul was asked to take a back seat on the project.
    2. The graduate had no problem taking a back seat when more experienced engineers were brought in to solve the problem.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. When my daughter got sick my college work and studying had to take a back seat until she got better.
    2. I always take a back seat when my mother-in-law is in the kitchen. She knows what she's doing and I'd hate to get in the way
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