Riding shotgun: Difference between revisions

The phrases.org.uk source does NOT support the 1905 date, it has 1919 as the earliest mention. Instead the source "The Sunset Trail" does.
m (8 revisions imported: import oldest edits from August 2001 database dump ... there's a potential gap in history of a few months, but these edits are interesting)
(The phrases.org.uk source does NOT support the 1905 date, it has 1919 as the earliest mention. Instead the source "The Sunset Trail" does.)
[[File:Indians Attacking a Stage-Coach BAH-p243.png|thumb|200px|Riding shotgun. The driver is holding the whip with the shotgun messenger on his left.]]
 
'''Riding shotgun''' was used to describe the guard who rode alongside a [[stagecoach]] driver, ready to use his [[shotgun]] to ward off bandits or hostile [[Native Americans in the United States|Native Americans]]. In modern use, it refers to the practice of sitting alongside the [[driver (person)|driver]] in a moving [[vehicle]]. The phrase has been used to mean giving actual or figurative support or aid to someone in a situation.<ref>{{cite web|work=dictionary.reference.com|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shotgun|title= Define Shotgun at Dictionary.com|publisher =Dictionary.com|accessdate=February 11, 2013}}</ref> The coining of this phrase dates to 1905 at latest.<ref name=phrasessunsettrail/>
 
==Etymology==
The expression "riding shotgun" is derived from "[[shotgun messenger]]", a colloquial term for "express messenger", when [[stagecoach]] travel was popular during the American [[American frontier|Wild West]] and the [[Colonialism|Colonial]] period in [[Australia]]. The person rode alongside the driver. The first known use of the phrase "riding shotgun" was in the 1905 novel ''The Sunset Trail'' by Alfred Henry Lewis.
 
{{quote|Wyatt and Morgan Earp were in the service of The Express Company. They went often as guards-- "riding shotgun," it was called-- when the stage bore unusual treasure.<ref name=sunsettrail>{{cite web|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=rwg3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA349&dq=%22riding+shotgun%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC7NSYjJXaAhXG2VMKHUmfDZYQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=%22riding%20shotgun%22&f=false|title=The Sunset Trail|last=Lewis|first=Alfred Henry|accessdate=30 March 2018}}</ref>}}
 
It was later used in print and especially film depiction of stagecoaches and wagons in the [[Old West]] in danger of being robbed or attacked by [[bandit]]s. A special armed employee of the express service using the stage for transportation of bullion or cash would sit beside the driver, carrying a short [[shotgun]] (or alternatively a [[rifle]]),[https://books.google.com/books?id=QILdMe7lYXgC&lpg=PP1&dq=.gov%3Ariding%20shotgun%20wild%20west%20stagecoach&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=shotgun&f=false] to provide an armed response in case of threat to the cargo, which was usually a strongbox.<ref>{{Cite book|title=The Old West in Fact and Film: History Versus Hollywood|last=Agnew|first=Jeremy|publisher=McFarland|year=2012|isbn=0786468882|location=Jefferson, North Carolina|pages=17}}</ref> Absence of an armed person in that position often signaled that the stage was not carrying a strongbox, but only passengers.<ref name=phrases>{{cite web|url=http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/riding-shotgun.html|title=Riding shotgun|work=phrases.org.uk|accessdate=May 1, 2010}}</ref>