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While I was reading an article about the etymology of jaywalking, I stumbled upon this phrase:

“Jay” used to be a generic term for someone who was an idiot, dull, rube, unsophisticated, poor, or simpleton.

When did people used to use the term Jay as unintelligent person(or idiot)?

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closed as general reference by Matt E. Эллен, Armen Ծիրունյան, Robusto, tchrist, kiamlaluno Aug 17 '12 at 11:54

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer 1

In the 1620s according to Etymology Online.

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Your reference say: "Applied to humans in sense of "impertinent chatterer, flashy dresser" from 1620s." I would say this is not entirely the same as what is asked in the question. I would say it needs other answers for when this was taken further to mean "unintelligent person". – awe Aug 3 '12 at 11:44
Surely an impertinent chatterer would be considered unintelligent in the 17th century, a person of education would have known when to speak and when not to, as well as what to speak about and what not to. – Born2Smile Aug 4 '12 at 12:00

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