second banana

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Noun[edit]

second banana (plural second bananas)

  1. (idiomatic) A comedian who plays a secondary or supporting role, especially as straight man and traditionally in vaudeville or burlesque theatre.
    He grew disenchanted with playing second banana and never getting credit for the laughter.
  2. (idiomatic) A person who serves in a supporting, secondary, or subsidiary capacity; an assistant.
    The plumber left his second banana behind, to finish installing my new sink.
    • 2012, Michael Smyth, "The lifeboat is filling up", The Province, 30 August 2012:
      When you want to be the boss, but you can't, it's not a lot of fun to be second banana.

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