in the catbird seat
big buff guy
The semantics are similar to such phrases as "sitting pretty," "livin' large," and "home free" in that it refers to a condition disposed to success (an advantagous situation). The Morris Dictionary relates an origin narrative tracing it's popularity from the Thurber work through contextual clues to phrases commonly used by a radio announcer who reported on competitions involving the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers, an organization in the sport of baseball. The origin story tells of a specific anecdote in which this announcer learned of it from one who'd been familiar with it from the patois of the southern United States. No history is related about it's further origin or the semantic connection between the seat of a "catbird" and superiority or good fortune.
Lord Glenelg
The Word Detective on catbird seat
Frank Pierce
From no dictionary whatsoever, but purely from my own obervations and a bit of common sense.

The catbird is almost unique in his absolute combativeness (and his over-concern with his own territorial matters). I've seen them sit on the highest branch of any tree, scan the area for intruders (avian, feline, or homo sapien), scream at them with a loud and unpleasant screech, and then dive and give combat. I've been attacked by these creatures who seem to have absolutely no fear, particularly at nesting time.

They rule the roost from the topmost branch, which might very well be called "the catbird seat." He's got it made. Everything else is subordinate.

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