“jaywalking”

Jaywalking is something that we Indians specialise in. We cross the road wherever we like; it’s a tricky business, but most of the time we manage to negotiate the traffic. The word “jay” is a slang term coined in the U.S. in the early 20th Century to refer to rustics — people living in the country. When “jays” visited cities, they had a tough time crossing streets because of the presence of automobiles. These cars which could run at an incredible speed of 15 miles an hour scared the living daylights out of the “jays”. Hence, whenever these individuals crossed the street, they did so very erratically, seldom bothering to look at the traffic signals.

 Source:  ‘Know Your English’ Series – The Hindu Daily, Sept 5 , 2005.

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