"Travelin' shotgun"

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Dec 1 15:38:15 UTC 2006

We used to, in the mid-1970s, say "I got shotgun" or "I call shotgun".
Never "ride shotgun".

There's a sequence in "Good Will Hunting" at the end, after Will has
left to chase Minnie Driver, one of the other members of the group
finally gets to ride in the "shotgun" position in Ben Affleck's car
(he's moved up one in the pecking order, now that Will is gone), but I
don't recall if the seat is ever referred to as "shotgun" (or if verbal
reference is ever even made to it -- it may just be shown, rather that
told).  And it seems like there may be a similar depiction of pecking
order as evidenced by who gets to sit where in a car in "Breaking Away",
but it's been so long since I've seen it that I'm not sure.

> A 13-year-old Pittsburgh-area informant says "ride shotgun" =
> "ride in the seat next to the driver". She says she has heard
> this from peers as well as older folks; she does not recall
> encountering the above-mentioned new 'improved' sense.  It
> was not immediately obvious to her why the word "shotgun"
> should be used for the front passenger seat.
> -- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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