(CNN)Therehe was, the leader of the totally free civilization, President Lyndon Baines Johnkid, aboardAir Force One standing in front of reporters, naked asa jaybird.

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But why ajaybird? Due to the fact that his initials were, L.B.”Jay”? – and his wife’s name was Lady-“Bird”?
Probably not.Early examples of the idiom, “naked as ajaybird” suggest that the idiom originally described the nakedness of freshlyhatched birds.
“As naked asa Jaybird” is an American idiom that indicates basically the exact same as, “as nakedas a newborn baby.” But, whereas theimagery of a naked baby is straightforward and also literal, the link betweennudity and also birds is less noticeable.Jaybirds never before wear apparel, although their feathers keep them fromappearing totally naked.
The etymologyof the idiom has long been up for dispute. The Word Detectivespeculatedthat it may be regarded the word, “Jay,” meaning a rube or country bumpkin –a word currently ideal known as part of “jaywalker.”Words, “Jay,” however, might be related to Aesop’s proverbial (orshould that be fabulous) Jay, that dressed himself up in peacock’s feathers;just to learn that he was still just a Jay underneath (yet that’s a differentstory altogether - seemy post, Jayhawkers and Jaywalkers).
ChristineAmmer, the editor of the AmericanHeritage Dictionary of Idioms and CoolCats, Top Dogs and also Other Beastly Expressions, speculated that the idiomdescribed the practically feathermuch less state of an unfledged Jay. Newly hatched perching birds (includingjays) have actually practically no down. Early examples of the idiom, and its British precursor, “naked as a robin” (also a perching bird), imply that Christine Ammer’s instincts were correct.
The secondearliest exampleof “naked as a robin” that I can discover is from a debate around taxation andpayment of the national debt:
If Sir Thomas adright here tohis doctrine, and also if that doctrine be acted upon, he will have the coat takenoff his back, and will certainly be left as naked as a robin twohrs old; and I shall view him in a plight more wretched even than thatof any kind of of those who are currently, as he, I dare say, sincerely professes, objects ofhis commiseration.
Cobbett’s Weekly Register (London), Volume58, Number 6, May 6, 1826, column 354.
Newly Hatched Robin.

The earliestinstance of “naked as a Jay bird” that I uncovered is from an open up letter to thethief who stole Malcolm D. Johnson’s pants; it was publiburned under the crypticheadline, “Bolifuqua Cunneya”:
Steal Not, is an expressprohibition contained in the revealed legislation of God, and also D—d be he that disregardsit – such an one is the abhorred of male, and also the accursed of God. . . .
“He that steals my pursesteals trash,” yet he that filched from me my breeches, robbed me of that whichmay have actually enriched him; however which left me as naked as anunfledged Jay bird.

Newly Hatched Blue Jays.

CharlesWhite, The Cashmere Shawl, An EasternFiction, Volume 1, London, H. Colburn, 1840.
Newly Hatched Raven.

Newberry Herald and also News (South Carolina), September 12, 1894, web page 2.

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The phrase shows up routinely, if not generally, after 1899. Perhaps its rise was affected by the term "Jay" (bumpkin), which dates to the 1880s, and also became increasingly common throughout the 1890s and also right into the at an early stage 1900s.
The Vancouver World (British Columbia, Canada), January 7, 1910.