Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to parrot

parakeet (n.)

"a small parrot," 1620s, from Spanish perquito; earlier English form parroket (1580s) is from French paroquet, from Old French paroquet (14c.), which is said by etymologists of French to be from Italian parrocchetto, literally "little priest," from parroco "parish priest," from Church Latin parochus (see parish), or from parrucchetto, diminutive of parrucca "peruke, periwig," in reference to the head plumage.

The Spanish form, meanwhile, is sometimes said to be a diminutive of Perico, a familiar form of Pedro "Peter," and the Old French word is likewise perhaps from or influenced by a diminutive of Pierre "Peter." "The relationship between the Sp. and It. forms cannot be settled until the chronology is known; prob. the name has been modified by popular etymology in one or both" [OED].

Advertisement
popinjay (n.)

early 14c., papejaye (late 13c. as a surname), "a parrot," from Old French papegai (12c.), from Spanish papagayo, from Arabic babagha', Persian babgha "parrot," a word possibly formed in an African or other non-Indo-European language and imitative of its cry. The ending probably was assimilated in Western European languages to "jay" words (Old French jai, etc.).

Used of people in a complimentary sense (in allusion to beauty and rarity) from early 14c.; meaning "vain, talkative person" is recorded frpm 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.

jay (n.)

the common European jay (Garrulus glandarinus), early 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old North French gai, Old French jai "magpie, jay" (12c., Modern French geai), from Late Latin gaius "a jay," probably echoic of the bird's harsh warning cry and supposedly influenced by Latin Gaius, a common Roman proper name.

For other bird names from proper names, compare martin and parrot. Applied to the North American blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) from 1709; it is unrelated but has similar vivid markings, is noisy and restless, and also has a harsh call. Applied to humans in sense of "impertinent chatterer, loud, flashy dresser" from 1520s. Jolly as a jay was a Middle English expression for "very happy, joyful."

parrot-fish (n.)

name given to various species on account of colors or a strong, hard mouth, 1712, from parrot (n.) + fish (n.).