Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

jay1

[jey]
See more synonyms for jay on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. 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.
  2. Informal. a simpleminded or gullible person.
Show More

Origin of jay1

1275–35; Middle English jai < Middle French < Late Latin gāius, gāia, perhaps after Latin Gāius man's name

jay2

[jey]
noun Slang.
  1. a marijuana cigarette.
Show More

Origin of jay2

1970–75; probably spelling of initial consonant of joint, perhaps suggested by Pig Latin version ointjay

Jay

[jey]
noun
  1. John,1745–1829, U.S. statesman and jurist: first chief justice of the U.S. 1789–95.
  2. a male given name.
Show More
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jay

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • More common in my region than the jay or the cardinal is the red-eyed vireo.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • We admire the brilliant plumage of the jay, cardinal and goldfinch.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • Jay Gardiner was surprised for an instant; but it was only for an instant.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton

    Laura Jean Libbey

  • "I refuse to answer your question," replied Jay Gardiner, coolly.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton

    Laura Jean Libbey

  • She did not wonder now that Jay Gardiner had given his heart to her.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton

    Laura Jean Libbey


British Dictionary definitions for jay

jay

noun
  1. 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 crestSee also blue jay
  2. a foolish or gullible person
Show More

Word Origin

C13: from Old French jai, from Late Latin gāius, perhaps from proper name Gāius

Jay

noun
  1. 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
Show More
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 jay

n.

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.

Show More

adj.

"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."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper