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[jey] /dʒeɪ/
any of several noisy, vivacious birds of the crow family, subfamily Garrulinae, as the crested Garrulus glandarius, of the Old World, having brownish plumage with blue, black, and white barring on the wings.
Compare blue jay, gray jay.
Informal. a simpleminded or gullible person.
Origin of jay1
1275-35; Middle English jai < Middle French < Late Latin gāius, gāia, perhaps after Latin Gāius man's name


[jey] /dʒeɪ/
noun, Slang.
a marijuana cigarette.
1970-75; probably spelling of initial consonant of joint, perhaps suggested by Pig Latin version ointjay


[jey] /dʒeɪ/
John, 1745–1829, U.S. statesman and jurist: first chief justice of the U.S. 1789–95.
a male given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for jay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • jay Gould was deeply religious in his own way, though I am told he wrecked many.

    The Arena Various
  • Moreover, there is undoubtedly something to be said on the jay's side.

    A Bird-Lover in the West Olive Thorne Miller
  • It was now nearly one o'clock and as I had been unable to find Bige, I ate lunch with the jay birds as above described.

    Camps and Trails Henry Abbott
  • jay soon began to suspect the designs of the French minister.

  • He was not invited, however, to come to the house during his stay, and the queen did not call on Mrs. jay.

British Dictionary definitions for jay


any of various passerine birds of the family Corvidae (crows), esp the Eurasian Garrulus glandarius, with a pinkish-brown body, blue-and-black wings, and a black-and-white crest See also blue jay
a foolish or gullible person
Word Origin
C13: from Old French jai, from Late Latin gāius, perhaps from proper name Gāius


John 1745–1829, American statesman, jurist, and diplomat; first chief justice of the Supreme Court (1789–95). He negotiated the treaty with Great Britain (Jay's treaty, 1794), that settled outstanding disputes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jay

c.1300, common European bird (Garrulus glandarinus), from Old North French gai, Old French jai "magpie, jay," from Late Latin gaius "a jay," probably echoic and supposedly influenced by Latin Gaius, a common Roman proper name. For other bird names from proper names, cf. martin and parrot. Applied to the North American blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) from 1709. Applied to humans in sense of "impertinent chatterer, flashy dresser" from 1620s.


"fourth-rate, worthless" (e.g. a jay town), 1888, American English, apparently from some disparaging sense of jay (n.). Perhaps from a decaying or ironical use of jay "flashy dresser."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for jay

jay 1


  1. A rustic; simpleton; hick, rube (1523+)
  2. An easy victim; mark, patsy, sucker (1884+ Underworld)

[fr the raucous bird]

jay 2


Marijuana or a marijuana cigarette; j: Let's do up a jay and truck on down to the libo (1960s+ Narcotics)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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