Ride shotgun and call shotgun

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Ride shotgun and call shotgun are two American terms that have historical roots, yet are still in use today. We will look at the meanings of the idioms ride shotgun and call shotgun, where they come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Ride shotgun means to ride in the front passenger seat of a car or truck. The term ride shotgun comes from the American Old West. On stagecoaches, a man armed with a shotgun rode beside the stagecoach driver in order to ward off attacks. In time, this position came to be known as riding shotgun. This term was popularized in Western movies, and by the 1950s children started to use the term ride shotgun to mean riding in the front passenger seat of a car or truck. To call shotgun means to lay claim to the right to ride in the front passenger seat of a car or truck. Many an argument between siblings involved disputes concerning who had called shotgun first. Related terms are rides shotgun, rode shotgun, riding shotgun and calls shotgun, called shotgun and calling shotgun.


The mother of four is the latest pop diva to ride shotgun with this year’s Grammy Awards host, who previously cruised with Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Sia. (People Magazine)

Cullerton’s state chaperone system couldn’t get any creepier, unless a freshly paroled Rod Blagojevich were to ride shotgun to keep an eye on things. (The State Journal-Register)

So if you get the chance to ride in one, don’t call shotgun, volunteer to ride in the back and catch up on some Netflix. (Business Insider)

But then young passengers got a huge visual treat: someone with a tidal chart and a hell of a lot of time on their hands had contructed a series of wooden structures on the mudflats in Emeryville — in clear view if you had the foresight to call “shotgun” and were driving southbound on Highway 80. (The San Francisco Chronicle)