cog in the wheel
Also, cog in the machine. One who holds a minor but necessary post in a large organization, as in Frank knew he was just a cog in the wheel of this giant corporation. This term alludes to the role of the mechanical cog, one of the teeth on a wheel or gear that, by engaging other teeth, transmits or receives motion. Used figuratively since about 1930, it sometimes is put as small cog in a large wheel, emphasizing a person's lack of importance.
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Example sentences from the Web for cog in the wheel
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This is a guy who has his son-in-law clean his eyeglasses, for crying out loud.
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Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
Such throats are trying, are they not?In case one catches cold; Ah, yes!
Never again would he sit behind that wheel rejoicing in the insolence of speed.
He deposited it on the vacant seat, clambered up behind the wheel, and started.
The commander-in-chief still kept him attached to the headquarter staff, and constantly employed him on special service.Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison