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A parrot; in archery, a target made of bunches of plumage fixed to a pole of different heights. From the early 16th century, popinjay is used, with reference to the bird's gaudy plumage, for a vain or conceited person, especially one who dresses or behaves extravagantly.

The word comes (in Middle English) from Old French papingay, via Spanish from Arabic babbaġā. The change in the ending was due to association with jay.

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