from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun Chiefly Brit. a person serving a prison sentence; a jail bird.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun Alternative spelling of
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a criminal who has been jailed repeatedly
Sorry, no etymologies found.
I remember the reporting of the "gaolbird" case in "Chess" (Sutton Coldfield, sufficient address).
In a letter to a Mr Golding, Mr Wood had indicated that if Mr Morry was in the new Welsh Chess Union, Mr Wood was out; he referred to Mr Morry as “this ex-gaolbird”.
It is just the same with the passengers: here is a gaolbird accommodated with a seat next the captain and treated with reverence, there a debauchee or parricide or temple-robber in honourable possession of the best place, while crowds of respectable people are packed together in a corner and hustled by their real inferiors.
'Tis a runaway gaolbird by the look of him for whom we have no sort of use here.
François of Corbeuil, Count of Montcorbier, stood in a very different relation to the Lady Katherine from that of the lowly poet and gaolbird who had rhymed and sighed and battled in the Fircone