Why does the phrase ‘Ride Shotgun’ mean to ride in the front passenger seat?

Photo by Vasile Valcan on Unsplash

To ride shotgun means to ride on the front passenger seat of the car, next to the driver.

This term arose in the 19th century United States. The vehicles and coaches were often accompanied by a person who sat in the front seat next to the driver with a shotgun to provide protection from robbers and dacoits.

So, to ride shotgun meant to sit next to the driver in the front seat.

For example —

“Please, let me ride shotgun! I want to see how he drives this car.”

Please, let me sit in the front passenger seat.

I hope you found this story interesting. If you did, buy my full course on Udemy or watch it for free on Skillshare by signing up here. This course covers nearly 380 idioms with their origins and backstories.

Hi, I am Gauri Shanker, a Vocab teacher and enthusiast. I teach vocabulary in a fun and engaging way. You can check out my courses here.

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