[Marxism] popinjay - had to look it up

Tony Hartin t.hartin at qmul.ac.uk
Wed May 18 08:52:16 MDT 2005

"This deeply insulting word is now rather dated or literary. A good 
example can be found in Joseph Conrad’s short story /The End of the 
Tether/ of 1902: “When he looked around in the club he saw only a lot of 
conceited popinjays too selfish to think of making a good woman happy”.

Dictionaries say a /popinjay/ was also at one time the usual name for a 
parrot, and in that lies the origin of the derogatory term. What could 
be more gaudily and squawkingly in your face than a parrot? What more 
perfect term for an empty chatterer, fop or coxcomb? Who’s a pretty boy, 


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