April 28, 2007


:pop·in·jay - (pŏp'ĭn-jā')

-A vain, talkative person.

This time decided to dwell on the word which actually traces its origin to the arabic set of words. This word was originally used to denote a parrot. It travelled along with the bird from africa and after suitable modifications from the arabic 'babbaga', through Spanish 'papagayo' and Old French ' 'papeiaye', it was recorded as 'papengay' in the earlier english versions. It finally ended as popinjay after people thought it was used to describe a certain jay.

The word derives its meaning from its earlier associations with the parrot, which is identified as gaudy, sqwaking and a tendency to repeat what it hears without understanding.

According to the British language commentator Michael Quinion "This deeply insulting word is now rather dated or literary."

A good example can be found in Joseph Conrad’s short story The End of the Tether of 1902: “When he looked around in the club he saw only a lot of conceited popinjays too selfish to think of making a good woman happy”.


AlterinG Abhishek said...

OH, you mean the POPPAT!!
well the parrot is called a popat here in Mumbai,( Not Mia Mithooo)
SOmething I too have leanred!!

Though I understand the conotation of POPINJAY is different..
me just commenting on the pic!!

666 said...

that reminds me of Captain Haddock's swear word 'squawking popinjay' :-)

but its really unfortunate how natural animal behaviours/temperaments are used as connotations for humans. like mule, ass, dog, swine, pig, popinjay

suramya said...

abhishek : poppat means parrot??? hmmm, didn't know that,thanks, my hindi is very shaky, not much spoken in the south and not that great a fan of bollywood :):)

666: yes, its really unfortuanate, infact there was a sarcastic rejoinder to this in one of the dr doolittle books by the pig Gub Gub who cited various terms in animal language derived from the obnoxious behaviour of humans :):)

Moi said...

:) the Old french version "'papeiaye" reminds me of the hindi "papiha"..wonder if hindi/punjabi-speaking Abhishek or 666 can confirm that for moi, about any relation with the word.

adding to 666's list : bitchy, foxy, cuckoo, ape, reptilian, cocky, bull, catty/feline..................

Jayanth said...

Now i know y u told me to read this.. :)

:pop·in·jay - (pŏp'ĭn-jā')

-A vain, talkative person.

I shud ve been named notjay..Anyways Keep the fun work going..nice job.

suramya said...

jay: ha ha, I didn't say anthing :), someone seems to have a guilty conscience :):),so I am guessing u wouldn't want to be referred to as jay anymore. keep visiting semantica now that u've made a start.