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Naked as a Jay Bird

Posted by ESC on March 01, 2000

In Reply to: Naked as a Jay Bird posted by Meg Gommel on February 29, 2000

: What is the meaning of the phrase Naked as jay bird? I have been looking for this for a few years now, can anyone help?

This question came up before. Some of my files were wiped out so I don't have a record of what was said. But it seems to me that someone said baby jaybirds are especially featherless. Anyway, the "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Vol. II, H-O" by J.E. Lighter (Random House, New York, 1997) says: "naked as a jaybird, stark naked." It lists as a couple of citations: 1893 James "Mavrick" 27: He will have the humbug qualifications of cow-boy stripped from his poor worthless carcass so quickly that he would feel like a jay bird with his tail feathers gone. 1922 in DARE: I gwi' strip nakit ez a jaybu'd befo' 'e fedduh' grow!