popinjay (n.) late 13c., "a parrot," from O.Fr. papegai (12c.), from Sp. papagayo, from Arabic babagha', possibly formed in an African or other non-I.E. language and imitative of its cry. Used of people in a complimentary sense (in allusion to beauty and rarity) from early 14c.; meaning "vain, talkative person" is first recorded 1520s. Obsolete figurative sense of "a target to shoot at" is explained by Cotgrave's 2nd sense definition: "also a woodden parrot (set up on the top of a steeple, high tree, or pole) whereat there is, in many parts of France, a generall shooting once euerie yeare; and an exemption, for all that yeare, from La Taille, obtained by him that strikes downe" all or part of the bird.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Popinjay — Pop in*jay, n. [OE. popingay, papejay, OF. papegai, papegaut; cf. Pr. papagai, Sp. & Pg. papagayo, It. pappagallo, LGr. ?, NGr. ?; in which the first syllables are perhaps imitative of the bird s chatter, and the last either fr. L. gallus cock,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • popinjay — ► NOUN dated ▪ a vain or foppish person. ORIGIN Old French papingay parrot , from Arabic …   English terms dictionary

  • popinjay — [päp′in jā΄] n. [ME papejai < MFr papagai, altered (infl. by gai: see JAY1) < Ar babghōʾ, babbaghāʾ < a WAfr language: of echoic orig.] 1. a parrot 2. Obs. a target consisting of a wooden parrot on a pole 3. a talkative, conceited person …   English World dictionary

  • Popinjay — A popinjay is a noun signifying a vain person or fop . Popinjay may also refer to:* Popinjay (sport), a shooting sport that can be performed with either rifles or archery equipment * Popinjay, Stibochiona nicea , a species of butterfly * Popinjay …   Wikipedia

  • popinjay — UK [ˈpɒpɪnˌdʒeɪ] / US [ˈpɑpɪnˌdʒeɪ] noun [countable] Word forms popinjay : singular popinjay plural popinjays mainly literary an old word meaning a young man who cares too much about his appearance …   English dictionary

  • popinjay — Yaffle Yaf fle, n. [Probably imitative of its call or cry.] (Zo[ o]l.) The European green woodpecker ({Picus viridis} syn. {Genius viridis}). It is noted for its loud laughlike note. Called also {eccle}, {hewhole}, {highhoe}, {laughing bird},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Popinjay (sport) — Popinjay or Popingo (signifying a painted bird) is a shooting sport that can be performed with either rifles or archery equipment. The rifle form is a popular diversion in Denmark; a Scottish variant is also known. The archery form is popular in… …   Wikipedia

  • Popinjay (Wild Cards) — Superherobox caption= comic color=background:#c0c0c0 character name=Popinjay real name=Jay Ackroyd publisher=George R. R. Martin debut= Wild Cards (1987) creators=George R. R. Martin alliance color=background:#ffc0c0 status=Active… …   Wikipedia

  • popinjay — noun Etymology: Middle English papejay parrot, from Middle French papegai, papejai, from Arabic babghā Date: 1596 a strutting supercilious person …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • popinjay — /pop in jay /, n. 1. a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter; coxcomb; fop. 2. Brit. Dial. a woodpecker, esp. the green woodpecker. 3. Archaic. the figure of a parrot usually fixed on a pole and used as a target in archery… …   Universalium

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