James E. Clapp jeclapp at WANS.NET
Sun Jul 25 18:53:24 UTC 1999

Barnhart wrote:
> >From the Dictionary of Americanism:
> jaywalk, v. [f. _jay_, a stupid person + _walk_, v.] ...

Sorry, I wasn't paying close attention to this thread, so maybe this has
been touched on, but it just struck me when I saw the foregoing:

Am I the only one who assumed the etymology was from "jay" = bird?  I see
that the OED says this is from jay = simpleton, but it just seems so much
more logical to me that a jaywalker is one who walks out into the street
with the obliviousness of a jaybird.  I know this is how folk etymologies
arise, but I just wonder:  How firm is the "simpleton" etymology?

James E. Clapp

More information about the Ads-l mailing list