shotgun seat


: the front passenger seat of a vehicle
We blasted out of bayou country, Bernie behind the wheel, me in the shotgun seat.Spencer Quinn
see also ride shotgun at ride entry 1

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sansweet bought it when an insistent collector waylaid him outside the Pasadena Convention center and sold it to him out of the shotgun seat of his car for $400, to make rent. Chase Difeliciantonio, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Nov. 2021 Customers generally have an iPad mounted in their fire engine’s shotgun seat where the captain sits, as well as an iPad for battalion chiefs and other leaders. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Oct. 2021

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

Word History


after ride shotgun "to occupy the seat next to the driver," from the practice in the U.S. West during the late 1800's of seating a guard armed with a shotgun next to the driver on stagecoaches containing valuables

Note: The phrase ride shotgun was used by the journalist and fiction writer Alfred Henry Lewis (1855-1914) in a short story published in 1912 ("Old Monte: Official Drunkard," Cosmopolitan Magazine, vol. 53, no. 4, September, 1912, p. 470). Cf. earlier shotgun messenger, denoting the guard sitting next to the coach driver (Express Gazette, vol. 18, no. 7, July 15, 1893, p. 159).

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shotgun seat was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near shotgun seat

Cite this Entry

“Shotgun seat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

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