verb (used with object), shot·gunned, shot·gun·ning.
- (formerly) to ride atop a stagecoach as a shotgun-bearing guard.
- to protect or keep a watchful eye on something: riding shotgun over the nation's economy.
British Dictionary definitions for ride shotgun
- a shoulder firearm with unrifled bore designed for the discharge of small shot at short range and used mainly for hunting small game
- (as modifier)shotgun fire
verb -guns, -gunning or -gunned
Word Origin and History for ride shotgun
1821, American English, from shot (n.) in the sense of "lead in small pellets" (1770) + gun (n.). As distinguished from a rifle, which fires bullets. Shotgun wedding first attested 1903, American English.
Idioms and Phrases with ride shotgun (1 of 2)
Guard someone or something while in transit, as in The reporter found himself in the odd position of riding shotgun for an accused mobster. This term alludes to the armed defender of a stagecoach who sat beside the driver to protect against marauders and bandits. Later it was transferred to anyone riding in the front passenger seat of a motor vehicle, as well as to the more general function of protection. [Mid-1900s]
Idioms and Phrases with ride shotgun (2 of 2)
In addition to the idiom beginning with shotgun
, also see
- ride shotgun