1. take or be given a less important job or role
he was asked/told to take a back seat
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.