Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A position of power or prominence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Expression used to describe an enviable position, often one of great advantage.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The expression may originate in regards to the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), as it was in use in the 19th century in the southern United States. It was featured in the 1942 short story "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber, and popularized by baseball commentator Red Barber, and often referred to baseball. The expression according to James Thurber comes from the observation of the catbird (an Australian bird) of the family ptilonorhynchidae. Some of the male birds will assemble several hundred colored rocks or shells, arranging them in a remarkable artistic display, in order to build a "seat" atop which his mate will eventually be enthroned.

Examples

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Comments

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  • Used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in all types of dealings among parties. (Wikipedia)

    May 21, 2008