Naked as a Jaybird – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for an idiom to describe a fully unclothed state? You could consider using the saying “naked as a jaybird”. Discover where this idiom came from, as well as how to use it, in this post.


The American idiom “naked as a jaybird” simply means that someone is completely naked; not wearing any clothes whatsoever. The idiom does not have any sexual connotations.

​​Example Usage

Are you curious about the ways in which the idiom “naked as a jaybird” can be used in practice? Take a look at these examples:

  • “Having just come out of the shower, I was naked as a jaybird when the hotel maid suddenly showed up to clean the room.”
  • “Oh, yes, everyone’s naked as a jaybird all the time over at that nudist camp!”
  • “It’s unclear why we talk about being naked as a jaybird; jays have striking, and rather fancy, blue feathers!”


The first recorded use of the saying “naked as a jaybird” occurred in 1843.

Before around the mid-nineteenth century, the very similar idiom “naked as a robin” was in use in England.

Jays are beautiful birds that have bright blue feathers on their tails and wings, with a blue-gray torso and a black “crown” on their heads. It is not clear why these birds were chosen to represent nakedness, but or why jays replaced robins — which are similarly colorful — in the idiom.

The reason for the fact that the idiom “naked as a jaybird” is the only place in which these birds are referred to as “jaybirds“, rather than simply “jays”, also remains a mystery.

It is important to note that the saying “naked as a jaybird” merely means complete nakedness or a state of undress. There is nothing sexy or sexual about the idiom. This saying could explain why some nudists have referred to themselves as “jaybirds” as well.

The word “naked” itself, interesting, comes from the Proto-Germanic “nakwadaz”, and it was used to describe something that was bare or empty as well as nude people.

The idioms “naked as a worm” and “naked as a needle” were also used earlier.

Phrases Similar to Naked as a Jaybird

Other ways to describe complete nakedness include:

  • Birthday suit — the “clothes” you were born in.
  • Buck naked
  • Stark naked

You could also, of course, opt for the simplest version, and simply say “naked”.

Phrases Opposite to Naked as a Jaybird

While the opposite of completely naked would be “fully dressed”, the following phrases can describe someone who is wearing a formal, elaborate, or fancy outfit:

  • Dressed to the nines
  • Dolled up (usually reserved for women)

​What Is the Correct Saying?

The correct saying is “naked as a jaybird”. It means completely naked.

​​Ways People May Say Naked as a Jaybird Incorrectly

The idiom “naked as a jaybird” cannot be used to describe people who are wearing only underwear or are otherwise not fully clothed; this saying is only used to refer to someone who is completely undressed.

It is also good to be aware that the idiom “naked as a jaybird” should not be used in any sexual context, but only as a mere statement of fact.

​​Acceptable Ways to Phrase Naked as a Jaybird

You can choose to use the phrase “naked as a jaybird” to indicate that you or someone else are or was completely naked and not wearing any clothes at all. You could, for example, tell the mailman that you cannot open the door to accept a delivery because you just got out of the shower and are “naked as a jaybird”.

By adding “as a jaybird” to “naked”, you further emphasize the nakedness in question. This can be helpful in some situations, as the word “naked” has come to refer to various states of undress, and may not always mean that someone is not wearing any clothes at all.

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