Sitting in the catbird seat

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Sitting in the catbird seat is an idiom that was coined in the United States, specifically in the southern United States. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of sitting in the catbird seat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Sitting in the catbird seat means being in a superior or position or a place where one has the advantage. Sitting in the catbird seat means one is in a position of power. The term sitting in the catbird seat originated in the American South, and was popularized by a sports announcer named Red Barber. Red Barber called baseball games in the 1930s through the 1960s, and often used American idioms in his play-by-play broadcasts. The term sitting in the catbird seat was further popularized by a 1942 short story, “The Catbird Seat” written by James Thurber, an American humorist. A catbird is a North and Central American bird of the Dumatella genus. Related phrases are sit in the catbird seat, sits in the catbird seat, sat in the catbird seat, though these iterations are rarely seen.


If we’d worked to get women elected in proportion to our numbers, we’d be sitting in the catbird seat instead of marching around in pink pussy hats like obedient good girls. (The New York Daily News)

Currently sitting in the catbird’s seat of television rights negotiations, the demand for live sports programming juxtaposed with multiple potential bidders has led to WWE’s highest stock prices of all time. (Forbes Magazine)

Meanwhile, he said, “I love filmmaking and I’m sitting in the catbird seat.” (The Santa Fe New Mexican)