Definition of jay in English:



  • 1A bird of the crow family with boldly patterned plumage, typically having blue feathers in the wings or tail.

    • ‘Such avian predators as European jays and great-spotted woodpeckers cannot open the nest-boxes at the study area, whereas martens easily enter nest-boxes by removing the top.’
    • ‘Take a moment and picture what you expect to see: familiar trees and flowers, perhaps singing robins or squawking jays.’
    • ‘West Nile virus infects many different bird species, but it appears to be lethal to crows, jays, and hawks.’
    • ‘It has been estimated that a single jay could ‘plant’ up to 3000 acorns in a single month.’
    • ‘Anyone who has watched crows, jays, ravens and other members of the corvid family will know they're anything but ‘birdbrained.’’
    • ‘Blue jays are among the most colourful and intelligent back yard visitors.’
    • ‘Disturbance after eggs are laid provides opportunities for predation by carrion crows, jays, kestrels, magpies, foxes and mink.’
    • ‘Blue jays prefer living in evergreen forests, but they can also be found in farmlands, groves, and suburbs.’
    • ‘The corvines - crows, rooks, jays, magpies and jackdaws - are relentless stealers of other birds' eggs and chicks.’
    • ‘A number of jays live in family groups, but sharing of cached food has not been demonstrated.’
  • 2informal, dated A person who talks at length in a foolish or impertinent way.


Late 15th century: via Old French from late Latin gaius, gaia, perhaps from the Latin given name Gaius.