February 10th, 2010

blank by lintuvixen

Dispatch from a snowstorm

popinjay

noun

Pronunciation: \ˈpä-pən-ˌjā\

1. a strutting supercilious person
2. a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter; coxcomb; fop.
3. British Dialect. a woodpecker, esp. the green woodpecker.

Etymology:

Middle English, parrot, from Old French papegai, from Spanish papagayo or Old Provençal papagai, both from Arabic babġā', babaġā', from Persian babbaghā.

First used to describe people people in a complimentary sense (in allusion to beauty and rarity) from c.1310; meaning "vain, talkative person" is first recorded 1528. Archaic uses also include simply a parrot and the figure of a parrot usually fixed on a pole and used as a target in archery and gun shooting.

Interestingly (or not, perhaps) Popinjay is also used as a name for Stibochiona nicea butterfly. Image here

Usage:

Quite the popinjay, James was fully prepared to make a fabulous impression at the party, with his well practiced conversation forays about the brand name clothes he was wearing, the mention of his hair stylist, his MBA from Harvard and his platinum American Express card. He was perplexed by the number of people who suddenly needed to find the bathroom, the bar and even the door when he approached. Perhaps, James thought, they felt unable to compete with his accomplishments and savior faire.

ETA: Sorry about the gigantic text. It looked normal in both the preview and the post on my browser and then it took me forever to get a connection to fix it.