noun Slang.

a convict or prisoner.
an army recruit.
a soldier confined to camp and assigned to cleaning the grounds or other menial tasks as punishment for violation of the rules.

Origin of yardbird

1940–45, Americanism; yard2 + bird, by analogy with jailbird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for yardbird



US military an inexperienced, untrained, or clumsy soldier, esp one employed on menial duties
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 yardbird

"convict," 1956, from yard (n.1) + bird (n.1), from the notion of prison yards; earlier it meant "basic trainee" (World War II armed forces slang).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper