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.

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 The next guy to occupy the catbird seat is a name that might be familiar to New England football fans. Ben Volin,, 9 Apr. 2022 Picking third, the Cavs were in the catbird seat. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 30 July 2021 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catbird seat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 21 Jul. 2024.

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