Word of the Day : September 27, 2015

catbird seat

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noun KAT-berd-SEET

Definition

: 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

Susan found herself sitting in the catbird seat with lucrative offers from three potential employers in front of her.

"For the first time since the economic recovery began six years ago, white-collar professionals with specialized skills in fields like technology, finance, engineering and software find themselves in the catbird seat." — Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times, 25 July 2015



Test Your Vocabulary

What 2-word term can refer to an advantageous position or to an ethically superior position?

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