When they spoke of "the popinjay," I was at a loss to comprehend to whom they referred.
Yes, I was thinking what a popinjay I should look in a cocked hat.
You should see the figure you cut with that popinjay in your arms.
I'll be shot if you shall have an invitation to Lancaster Park, you popinjay!
Item, a pair of hose of popinjay green (they be well called popinjay) of thirty shillings.
Taylor, the water poet, mentions the popinjay at Ewell, in 1636.
The business of life is pleasure on the greensward, with shooting at the popinjay!
Two only of those who followed in order succeeded in hitting the popinjay.
That it has given a peacock's strut to the popinjay Anthony Woodville.
Some one other than you must have made that shirt, and this popinjay of a captainor is it a lieutenant?
late 13c., "a parrot," from Old French papegai (12c.), from Spanish papagayo, from Arabic babagha', Persian babgha "parrot," possibly formed in an African or other non-Indo-European language and imitative of its cry. Ending probably assimilated in Western European languages to "jay" words (Old French jai, etc.).
Used of people in a complimentary sense (in allusion to beauty and rarity) from early 14c.; meaning "vain, talkative person" is first recorded 1520s. Obsolete figurative sense of "a target to shoot at" is explained by Cotgrave's 2nd sense definition: "also a woodden parrot (set up on the top of a steeple, high tree, or pole) whereat there is, in many parts of France, a generall shooting once euerie yeare; and an exemption, for all that yeare, from La Taille, obtained by him that strikes downe" all or part of the bird.