synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of jay in English

English Online Dictionary. What means jay‎? What does jay mean?



  • enPR: , IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒeɪ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪ

Etymology 1

From Middle English jay, from Old French jai ("jay"; Modern French geai), either from Late Latin gaius (jay), or from Old French gai (gay, merry), so named due to its plumage, from Old Frankish *gāhi (quick, impetuous), from Proto-Germanic *ganhuz, *ganhwaz (sudden), cognate with Dutch gaai (jay). More on the latter etymology at gay.


jay (plural jays)

  1. Any of the numerous species of birds belonging to several genera within the family Corvidae, including Garrulus, Cyanocitta, Aphelocoma, Perisoreus, Cyanocorax, Gymnorhinus, Cyanolyca, Ptilostomus, and Calocitta, allied to the crows, but smaller, more graceful in form, often handsomely coloured, usually having a crest, and often noisy.
  2. Any of various other birds of similar appearance and behaviour.
    1. The Indian roller, Coracias benghalensis.
  3. Any of various large papilionid butterflies of the genus Graphium.
  4. (archaic) A dull or ignorant person. It survives today in the term jaywalking.
    • 1900, Harry B. Norris, Burlington Bertie (song)
      Burlington Bertie's the latest young jay
      He rents a swell flat somewhere Kensington way
      He spends the good oof that his pater has made
      Along with the Brandy and Soda Brigade.
  5. (obsolete) Promiscuous woman; prostitute.
  • (bird): Jenny jay, jay pie, k, kae (UK); bluejay, whisky jack (US)
  • (ignorant person): See Thesaurus:ignoramus
  • (promiscuous woman): See Thesaurus:promiscuous woman or Thesaurus:prostitute
  • (bird): Old World jay, gray jay, American jay
Derived terms
See also
  • Jay on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • Corvidae on Wikispecies.Wikispecies

Etymology 2

Respelling of the letter jy (which see), by analogy with the following letter kay.


jay (plural jays)

  1. The name of the Latin-script letter J.
  2. (slang) A marijuana cigarette; a joint.
Derived terms
  • deejay
  • Jaycee
  • peejays
See also
  • (Latin-script letter names) letter; a, bee, cee, dee, e, ef, gee, aitch, i, jay, kay, el, em, en, o, pee, cue, ar, ess, tee, u, vee, double-u, ex, wye, zee / zed


  • “jay”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.




  1. home

Middle English

Alternative forms

  • jai, gaye, jey


From Old French jai, from Frankish *gāhi or Late Latin gaius. Doublet of gay.


  • IPA(key): /dʒɛi̯/


jay (plural jayes)

  1. jay (bird)


  • English: jay
  • Scots: jay


  • “jai, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 2018-06-18.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.