- any of several American or Australian birds having catlike cries, especially Dumetella carolinensis (gray catbird), of North America.
Origin of catbird
Examples from the Web for catbird
Contemporary Examples of catbird
“Putin's aim is to show that he is in the catbird seat, and there is nothing we can do about it,” this former officer said.U.S. Spies Said No Russian Invasion of Ukraine—Putin Disagreed
Eli Lake, Christopher Dickey
March 1, 2014
You might have thought that with Borders shutting down, Barnes and Noble would be sitting in the catbird seat.Why Is Barnes and Noble Getting Out of the Bookstore Business?
February 6, 2013
There's no question that Republicans are sitting in the catbird's seat.Barack Obama and the Democrats Need to Take a Stand for Jobs
June 13, 2011
Historical Examples of catbird
Equally real was the catbird on the hedge as we came down toward the station.Pipefuls
If not, the first catbird he meets is the cleverest of the two.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
Then Mr. Catbird came out of the bush and apologized like the gentleman he was.The Tale of Bobby Bobolink
Arthur Scott Bailey
He can mew like a cat, and it is for this reason that he is called “Catbird.”
It was this spring, too, that he became acquainted with the Catbird.Dooryard Stories
Clara Dillingham Pierson
- any of several North American songbirds of the family Mimidae (mockingbirds), esp Dumetella carolinensis, whose call resembles the mewing of a cat
- any of several Australian bowerbirds of the genera Ailuroedus and Scenopoeetes, having a catlike call
1731, common name for the North American thrush (Dumetella Carolinensis), so called from its warning cry, which resembles that of a cat; from cat (n.) + bird (n.1). Catbird seat is a 19c. Dixieism, popularized by Brooklyn Dodgers baseball announcer Red Barber and by author James Thurber (1942).
"She must be a Dodger fan," he had said. "Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions--picked 'em up down South." Joey had gone on to explain one or two. "Tearing up the pea patch" meant going on a rampage; "sitting in the catbird seat" means sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him. [James Thurber, "The Catbird Seat," "The New Yorker," Nov. 14, 1942]