Thursday, August 27, 2009

Naked As A Jay Bird

During my morning troll through my blog subscriptions I came across a post from a woman who wrote very candidly about nakedness (I'd usually link to the blog right about here but I'm not sure if she would appreciate that or not). Of course having to put my two cents in about this one (I'm a bit of a nudie, not by choice but more out of just being oblivious to things) I went on to babble about my own experience and using the phrase "Naked as a Jay Bird" just came naturally. I got to thinking halfway though my typing where the HECK did that phrase come from? I mean, seriously... I'm an amature bird watcher and maybe it's just lack of experience but I've never seen a naked Jay Bird.

Well, except for maybe THAT one... so anyway, like any intelligent young lady sitting at work thinking about naked people, naked birds and just being naked I turned to Google. After sifting through piles of junk I came across one intelligent answer by Michael Sheehan from Cedar, Michigan, USA. It seems that he had done his own junk sifting and came across two plausible answers:

(1) In 19th century America, jay was slang for a hick, a simpleton, a gullible person. In that case, naked as a jay would refer to a completely vulnerable person, not to a bird. And we have another vestige of that meaning: to jaywalk. This referred to country bumpkins wandering around gawking at tall buildings and paying no attention to traffic signals.

(2) All perching birds, including jays, are born with hardly any down at all, making them quite helpless.

So with both that and the whole Jay Walking thing figured out (bonus points there!) I think we can all continue on with our days satisfied and happy as clams!

image borrowed from Doodle Diner

Answers borrowed from Wordmail: Naked as a Jay Bird


valentine said...

i am always curious where phrases come from, what they mean and why we still use them. i was surprised about the jay walking thing.

amourissima said...

ME TOO! I'm totally bring that term back and using it on every nutter in my neighbourhood! Quiet you crazy jays!

Joey said...

actually i always heard the phrase associated with defenseless. an old soccer coach said it whenever someone would make it past the defense and was alone with the goalie

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.