New expresssions for "dibs"

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Dec 16 15:33:16 UTC 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Seán Fitzpatrick
> Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 7:08 AM
> Subject: New expresssions for "dibs"
> Shortly after the discussion of "shotgun" a few months ago, my
> daughter came home from college for Thanksgiving using "shotgun"
> as a transitive verb:  "I shotgun the last piece of cake".  It
> seems to be an exact synonym for "dibs".  She and her friends
> also use "shotgun" in the standard slang way as a noun for the
> front passenger seat and as an--I don't know what,
> "exCLAIMative"?--"SHOTGUN!", to claim the seat.  Majority opinion
> among her friends seems to be that one cannot call shotgun out of
> sight of the car or the day before the proposed trip.  I
> mentioned this usage to other adults (30+),  They immediately got
> the usage but said they hadn't heard it before.

"Shotgun" is hardly new; it's been around for as long as this 40-year-old
can recall. It's from the idea of "to ride shotgun," to ride armed with a
shotgun alongside the driver as they used to do on stagecoaches in the old
West. The OED2 has "ride shotgun" from 1963, although it's not clear if that
citation refers to protecting the driver and vehicle. 1971 for a clear
citation of the sense meaning to ride alongside the driver as simply a

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

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