driver


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backseat driver

1. A passenger in a vehicle (not necessarily in the backseat) who attempts to instruct the driver or criticize their driving skills. John quickly became annoyed at Mary's tendency to become a backseat driver whenever he drove her somewhere, so he just began to let her drive.
2. By extension, someone who tries to establish and maintain control over every situation. Primarily heard in US. Although Mary was capable of completing the project on her own, John couldn't stop himself from being a backseat driver and telling her what to do.
See also: backseat, driver

designated driver

A person who stays sober during a social gathering and is responsible for safely driving others from one location to another. Since Kara never drinks alcohol, she always offers to be the designated driver for her friends.
See also: designate, driver

in the driving seat

In control of a situation; in a position of power. Primarily heard in UK. Make sure to get good grades now, so that you're in the driving seat when it comes time to choose a college. We're still leading in the polls, so nobody panic—we're in the driving seat here.
See also: driving, seat

backseat driver

Fig. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don't need any backseat driver on this project. Stop pestering me with all your advice. Nobody likes a backseat driver!
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver's seat

Fig. in control; in charge of things. (As if one were driving and controlling the vehicle.) Now that Fred is in the driver's seat, there is a lot less criticism about how things are being done. Joan can't wait to get into the driver's seat and do what she can to turn things around.
See also: seat

Sunday driver

a slow and leisurely driver who appears to be sightseeing and enjoying the view, holding up traffic in the process. (Also a term of address.) I'm a Sunday driver, and I'm sorry. I just can't bear to go faster. Move over, you Sunday driver!
See also: driver, Sunday

backseat driver

A passenger who gives unwanted and/or unneeded directions to the driver; also, a person who interferes in affairs without having knowledge, responsibility, or authority for doing so. For example, Aunt Mary drives us all crazy with her instructions; she's an incurable backseat driver. This term originated in the United States in the 1920s, when it was first used for a passenger legitimately directing a chauffeur, and it was quickly transferred to figurative use. Also see the synonym Monday-morning quarterback and the antonym take a back seat.
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver's seat

Also, in the saddle. In control, in a position of authority. For example, With the boss on vacation, Mr. Burns was in the driver's seat and enjoying it, or She waited until after the election, knowing that she'd be in the saddle then. The first expression dates from the 1800s, the second from the early 1600s. Also see at the helm.
See also: seat

a back-seat driver

COMMON
1. If you call a passenger in a car a back-seat driver, you mean that they keep telling the driver what to do. My mother is a terrible back-seat driver, especially when my sister is at the wheel.
2. If you call someone, especially a politician, a back-seat driver, you mean that they are trying to influence or control a situation that should be controlled by someone else. They accused the former prime minister of being a backseat driver. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval.
See also: driver

in the driving seat

BRITISH or

in the driver's seat

AMERICAN
COMMON If someone is in the driving seat, they have control of a situation. The radicals were in the driving seat, much to the anxiety of the moderates. Howe has warned against Britain not being in the driving seat as Europe takes important decisions. Those who had access to money were in the driver's seat.
See also: driving, seat

a back-seat driver

1 a passenger in a vehicle who constantly gives the driver unwanted advice on how to drive. 2 someone who lectures and criticizes the person actually in control of something.
See also: driver

in the driver's (or driving) seat

in charge of a situation.
1998 Times The deal would propel the no-nonsense Lancastrian into the driving seat at the UK's biggest generator.
See also: seat

a ˌback-seat ˈdriver

(disapproving)
1 a passenger in a vehicle who keeps giving advice to the driver about how he or she should drive
2 a person who wants to be in control of something that is not really their responsibility: There are too many back-seat drivers in this department. This is my project and I’m the one who’s in charge!
See also: driver

in the ˈdriving seat

(British English) (American English in the ˈdriver’s seat) managing or controlling something, for example a business: With a younger person in the driving seat, we can expect some big changes in the company. OPPOSITE: take a back seat
See also: driving, seat

backseat driver

n. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don’t need any backseat driver on this project.
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver’s seat

mod. in control. I’m in the driver’s seat now, and I get to decide who gets raises.
See also: seat

Sunday driver

n. a slow and leisurely driver who appears to be sightseeing and enjoying the view, holding up traffic in the process. (Also a term of address.) Move over, you Sunday driver!
See also: driver, Sunday
References in classic literature ?
And the big brown elephant catchers, the trackers and drivers and ropers, and the men who know all the secrets of breaking the wildest elephants, passed him from one to the other, and they marked his forehead with blood from the breast of a newly killed jungle-cock, to show that he was a forester, initiated and free of all the jungles.
He said to the driver, "You are early tonight, my friend.
Thus spoke the son of Peleus and the drivers of chariots bestirred themselves.
The driver was a young giant, and when he climbed on his load and poised a lump of coal in both hands, a policeman, who was just scaling the waggon from the side, let go and dropped back to earth.
He once more ordered the driver to go to Fulham--opened the door to get into the cab--then, as it seemed, suddenly recollected himself--and, calling the lad down from the box, ordered him to get inside, and took his place by the driver.
His driver lingered a moment to get a light for his pipe from the man behind.
he said to the driver, putting his head out of the window, and pulling a three-rouble note out of his pocket he handed it to the man as he looked round.
It is,' replied the driver, rubbing himself as if he ached, after throwing the reins to the ostler.
A tremendous place is close before us, the black driver rolls his eyes, screws his mouth up very round, and looks straight between the two leaders, as if he were saying to himself, 'We have done this often before, but NOW I think we shall have a crash.
Many of the lamps were already extinguished; a few country waggons were slowly toiling on, towards London; now and then, a stage-coach, covered with mud, rattled briskly by: the driver bestowing, as he passed, and admonitory lash upon the heavy waggoner who, by keeping on the wrong side of the road, had endangered his arriving at the office, a quarter of a minute after his time.
Only a bob's vorth, Tommy,' cried the driver sulkily, for the information of his friend the waterman, as the cab drove off.
Upon this we went to seize them, but were opposed by him and the rest of the drivers, who set themselves in a posture of opposition with their daggers.
As the other officer tossed his fingers toward his cap and wheeling his horse, started away, the general called out to him in a sober voice: "I don't believe many of your mule drivers will get back.
But the drivers, through miles of dark squalid road, poured out their souls to the dryads and the saints, and Lucy poured out hers to her cousin.
If in the front and the key-truck of chaos, he entered terrifically into the quarrel that was raging to and fro among the drivers on their high seats, and sometimes roared oaths and violently got himself arrested.