What does it mean to call "shotgun"?

Front passenger seat

When someone yells "shotgun!" while walking or running to a vehicle, they claim the "shotgun" spot (front passenger seat in the vehicle) for themselves. For example, when stepping out of a store on your way to the car with your friends, you may yell, "shotgun!" in the parking lot to reserve your seat (forcing your friends to sit in the back).

Besides the driver seat, most people classify shotgun as the most desirable spot to sit since you have more room (especially for your legs), can recline, get a window to yourself, and get to pick the music for the driver. When you compare shotgun to the back seat, which is smaller, sometimes harder to get into, and more scrunched (especially sitting in the middle of the backseat with people on both sides of you), it's clear to see why it is more desirable.

Origin of shotgun

The slang term "shotgun" originated in the American West in the 1800s when a shotgun-armed guard used to sit next to the driver on a stagecoach to protect it from thieves. However, the term wasn't popularized until Hollywood Westerns in the 1950s. It then transformed into the "I call shotgun" car seat game in the 1960s and 70s.


I call shotgun!
C'mon, you always get shotgun
Tough luck. Be faster!
Hard to get much better than shotgun in a Rolls-Royce vehicle
Hard to get much better than shotgun in a Rolls-Royce vehicle

Related Slang


Updated May 25, 2023

Shotgun definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Shotgun" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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