- a seat at the rear.
- take a backseat, to occupy a secondary or inferior position: Her writing has taken a backseat because of other demands on her time.
Origin of backseat
First recorded in 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
take a back seat
Occupy an inferior position; allow another to be in control. For example, Linda was content to take a back seat and let Nancy run the meeting. This idiom uses back seat in contrast to the driver's seat, that is, the one in control. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.