• synonyms


See more synonyms for jailbird on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who is or has been confined in jail; convict or ex-convict.
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Origin of jailbird

First recorded in 1595–1605; jail + bird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jailbird

Historical Examples

  • "If he's a jailbird I'll hate to see him in these parts," went on the farmer soberly.

    The Rover Boys in the Air

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • I guess ye'll not be findin' anybody that will be wantin' a jailbird.

    Just Patty

    Jean Webster

  • Then, after the jailbird had flown, he said that he would not send word at all.

    Betty Lee, Senior

    Harriet Pyne Grove

  • The fellers say that hes been a jailbird, an they dont want him in the house.

  • Poor devil, hes got all the marks of the jailbird about him.

British Dictionary definitions for jailbird



  1. a person who is or has been confined to jail, esp repeatedly; convict
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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

Word Origin and History for jailbird


1610s, based on an image of a caged bird; from jail (n.) + bird (n.1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper