shotgun seat


Definition of 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

First Known Use of shotgun seat

1940, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shotgun seat

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).

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The first known use of shotgun seat was in 1940

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Cite this Entry

“Shotgun seat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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