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the catbird seat
A powerful position. The phrase likely refers to the catbird's preference for high tree branches (which keep predators at bay). As the CEO's assistant, you are definitely sitting in the catbird seat. I know you were hoping to be elected president over Joe, but, as vice president, you're in the catbird seat if he resigns.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A situation of advantage or superiority, as in His promotion put Charles in the catbird seat. This term is thought to allude to that noisy bird's habitual high perch. It was popularized in the 1940s by sportscaster Red Barber.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
catbird seat, (sitting) in the
Being in a position of advantage or superiority. The term originated in the American South, where the catbird is quite common. It is thought to allude to the bird’s habit of singing from a very high perch in trees. It came into common usage in the 1940s when Mississippi-born sportscaster Red Barber would use it, for example, for a pitcher who was almost certain to strike out all the batters. Barber said he himself first heard the term in a poker game where he had bluffed all but one player into dropping out, but the remaining player, who had said from the start that he was sitting in the catbird seat, proved to have an ace and an ace in the hole. James Thurber used the expression as the title of a short story about a mild-mannered accountant who was so irritated by a colleague using this and other terms that he planned to murder her.
See also: catbird
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
An enviable position, “sitting pretty.” Catbirds seek the highest limbs of trees on which to perch. The view from on high and the relative safety from predators puts them in an advantageous spot. The term is best known as the title of a James Thurber short story and from radio sportscaster Walter Lanier “Red” Barber's using it while broadcasting baseball games.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price