You are watching: What does naked as a jaybird mean
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 Detectivespeculated
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 example
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 Vancouver World (British Columbia, Canada), January 7, 1910.|