Naked as a jaybird

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Naked as a jaybird is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom naked as a jaybird, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Naked as a jaybird is an idiom that simply describes someone who is completely nude, naked, or unclothed. The expression naked as a jaybird was coined in the United States as early as the mid-1800s, though its popularity rose from the 1920s onward. The early iteration usually seen in the mid-1800s is naked as a fledgling jaybird. In the 1800s, the terms naked as a fledgling robin and naked as a fledgling were popular. At some point, the word “fledgling” was dropped from the idiom. The term naked as a jaybird soared in popularity in the United States over the latter two-thirds of the twentieth century, and it may be because the slang term, j-bird, came into use. J-bird is an abbreviation of the word jailbird, meaning someone who is an inmate in a jail. When new inmates are processed in jails, they are stripped naked and disinfected before they receive new prisoner uniforms. Whether the idiom naked as a jaybird comes from the original idiom, naked as a fledgling, or the alternative source, naked as a j-bird, or a combination of both, is unknown.


 They all were wearing masks over their faces, but other than that, everyone was naked as a jaybird. (Daily Reflector)

The artist sits on a hobbyhorse, naked as a jaybird, sporting an Afro as big as a Buick. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

“I’m sitting there showering,” Massa recalled on the radio Monday, “naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn’t going to vote for the president’s budget.”  (New York Magazine)

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