Word of the Day : January 28, 2018

popinjay

play
noun PAH-pin-jay

Definition

: a strutting supercilious person

Did You Know?

Popinjays and parrots are birds of a feather. Popinjay, from the Middle French word papegai, is the original name for a parrot in English. The French word, in turn, came from the Arabic word for the bird, babghā’. Parrot, which English speakers adopted later, is probably a modification of the Middle French perroquet, which is also the source of the English parakeet. In the days of Middle English, parrots were rare and exotic, and it was quite a compliment to be called a popinjay after such a beautiful bird. But by the 1500s, parrots had become more commonplace, and their gaudy plumage and vulgar mimicry helped popinjay develop the pejorative sense we use today.


Examples

"Who does that guy think he is?" Amanda asked in regard to the popinjay who strolled into the restaurant demanding to be seated instantly.

"[Ryan] Gosling plays the motormouthed popinjay, a tough talker who's actually quite skittish about his bloody job." — Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 May 2016



Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create the name of a small parrot that is dedicated to its mate: IODVRELB.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!