"Shotgun!" - Word of the Week

Disclaimer - in this post we are referring to the act "calling shotgun" and not the actual weapon. You will see the difference in a moment.

Definition: "Shotgun!"

Noun: the act of claiming the position of front seat near the driver for oneself

Pronunciation: sh’otg-uhn

Example: Are we leaving now? I call shotgun!

The Theory:
The term "Shotgun" refers to the front passenger seat of a car. "Calling Shotgun" is the act of claiming the position of Shotgun for one's self. As this is the most popular position when riding in a car, there is actually a list of rules created to ensure that Shotgun can be called in a fair manner by any passenger of a car.

The history of calling "Shotgun" goes back to the days of covered wagons and the Wild West. On a trip across the plains, the driver of a wagon would hold the reins of his horse team and concentrate on driving. This left him and the passengers of his wagon open to sneak attacks from bandits and thieves. To avoid this, it became necessary for one person to sit next to the driver with a shotgun and fend off the enemy.

This tradition is present mostly in the USA, although people in Australia and UK use it as well.

You need to be quick if you want the best seat!

People actually went further than just calling shotgun. They devised and entire rule-set around it. A couple of examples:

  • Early calls are strictly prohibited. All occupants of the vehicle (including the driver) must be outside of the building and directly on the way to the vehicle before shotgun may be called.
  • A person may only call shotgun for one way of a trip.
  • A person may call "laser" or "Shotgun Double Barrel" after shotgun has been called, to override the shotgun call. Additionally, any passenger who says "No Blitz" after claiming shotgun, may not have it taken away by either the "Laser" or "Double Barrel" rules.
  • Originally from Australia, if two people tie for shotgun, then the first person to put their thumb on their head is awarded shotgun. If they both do this at the same time, then an immediate race to the car is required.

For the very basic rules there is a video which explains it in a really easy to understand manner:

If you want to read on and educate yourself further (and have a good laugh) you should read this extensive article on Shotgun rules: http://www.bored.com/shotgunguide/

Have you ever called shotgun before?

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