One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
no object, with adverbial of direction Cross or walk in the street or road unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic.‘you jaywalked across a busy four-lane street’
- ‘People are always in the street, crossing against the light or jaywalking across even busy avenues or through stopped traffic.’
- ‘Nutton said evidence and witnesses indicated Spiller was jaywalking in an attempt to cross Charleston, which was busy with traffic at the time.’
- ‘A taxi honked loudly as a scattering of pedestrians jaywalked across the street, myself included.’
- ‘Then you might as well forget about walking to the traffic lights and just jaywalk in the middle of the street.’
- ‘Arbogast said everyone has jaywalked, and the problem is too many drivers in Albuquerque don't care about the safety of pedestrians or other motorists, making crossing the street even more dangerous.’
Early 20th century: from jay in the colloquial sense ‘silly person’ + walk.
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