Why Is It Called Jaywalking?

called-jaywalking Credit: Boston Globe/Boston Globe/Getty Images

The term jaywalking originates from the word "jay". Contrary to popular belief, this is not the shape of the path the person makes. Instead, jay was the name given to people that were considered simpletons or idiots.

This term referred to a person that was considered too ignorant to cross the road at a safe point. It was also used in reference to people from rural areas who had never been to a city before. People from the country were not aware of traffic laws and would cross the road at any point. Some research has shown that individuals who jaywalk may be safer, because a person that jaywalks is more cautious than the person in the crosswalk.