catbird seat


: a position of great prominence or advantage

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.

Example Sentences

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 Their continued inability to slay the Bengals knocks them from the conference's catbird seat. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 5 Dec. 2022 And Shanae is in the catbird seat, still mulling over whether to pick Logan or James. Kristen Baldwin,, 18 Oct. 2022 The Hilton Nashville Downtown is the city’s most convenient hotel, on the catbird seat nestled between Broadway and Bridgestone Arena. Fox News, 23 Sep. 2022 Of the two Democratic leaders, Newsom had the easier path to the political catbird seat. John Myers, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2022 Despite the Wings’ catbird seat, the series couldn’t have been closer. Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr. 2022 The company makes packaging, which should put it in the catbird seat as e-commerce became many people’s go-to during the pandemic. Brett Owens, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 Baltimore's loss Sunday vaults Pats into their familiar catbird seat by virtue of a conference record (6-1) that supersedes those of the Ravens and Titans. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 7 Dec. 2021 In that battle, Aldi sits in the catbird seat, renowned for being one of the cheapest grocery stores around, having been named as Grocery Value Leader among U.S. grocery stores for the last ten years by Market Force Information. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 24 June 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1942, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of catbird seat was in 1942


Dictionary Entries Near catbird seat

Cite this Entry

“Catbird seat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

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Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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