catbird seat


Definition of catbird seat

: a position of great prominence or advantage

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Did You Know?

In the catbird seat was among the numerous folksy expressions that legendary baseball broadcaster Red Barber used to delight listeners. Some say he invented the expression; others say that he dug it up from his Southern origins. But the truth may be far stranger than those rumors. In a 1942 short story titled "The Catbird Seat," James Thurber featured a character, Mrs. Barrows, who liked to use the phrase. Another character, Joey Hart, explained that Mrs. Barrows must have picked up the expression from Red Barber. To Red, according to Joey, sitting in the catbird seat meant 'sitting pretty,' like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him. But, according to Barber's daughter, it was only after Barber read Thurber's story that he started using "in the catbird seat" himself.

Examples of catbird seat in a Sentence

your fluency in French should put you in the catbird seat for getting the Paris posting in the wake of the natural disaster, this obscure bureaucrat was suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into the catbird seat

Recent Examples on the Web

Even with all of the congressional turnover — and the prospect that more could be coming — the GOP still sits in the catbird seat in Texas. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Why are so many Texas Republicans in Congress bolting for the exits, and what does it mean for 2020?," 9 Aug. 2019 This, combined with Jupiter (Mr. Lucky) in your fun house, places you directly in the catbird seat., "Minerva’s horoscope for week of July 28," 28 July 2019 In common parlance, sitting in the catbird seat is having an advantage or position of power, perhaps an unseen one. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Summer brings catbirds out in the open," 18 July 2019 As Cynthia Nixon and Andrew Cuomo squabbled on the campaign trail, Schneiderman was in the catbird seat, the overwhelming favorite to replace Cuomo eventually in the governor’s mansion. David Freedlander, Daily Intelligencer, "Eric Schneiderman Is N," 8 May 2018 Whatever his motives, Cochran has put his political ally Governor Phil Bryant firmly into the catbird seat with respect to his soon-to-be vacant Senate seat. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Thad Cochran to Resign From Senate, Shaking Up Mississippi Politics," 5 Mar. 2018 Now there is a new voice in the Packers’ catbird seat, Brian Gutekunst. Andrew Brandt,, "Change in Titletown: Ted Thompson Transitioning from Packers GM into Senior Advisor Role," 9 Jan. 2018 If the tastemakers ever likewise catch up with Kreindler, the baseball historians and fans who got there first will rise from their catbird seats behind home plate and make room for them, under the lights. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "Baseball Paintings That Double as Fine Art and Historical Documents," 23 Jan. 2018 This, combined with Jupiter (Mr. Lucky) in your sign, places you directly in the catbird seat. Minerva, San Francisco Chronicle, "Minerva’s horoscope, week of Jan. 7," 4 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catbird seat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catbird seat

1942, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near catbird seat



catbird grape

catbird seat

cat block



Statistics for catbird seat

Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for catbird seat

The first known use of catbird seat was in 1942

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catbird seat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catbird seat

Nglish: Translation of catbird seat for Spanish Speakers

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