Pronounced: POLL-ih-tick, adj
Notes: I’ve run across this word and had a vague idea of the meaning
The word railbird is
- any self-styled critic or expert in horse-racing
- a fan who watches races or workouts from the railing along the track”
Our word came into English (well, American English) in the late 1800s
Background / Comments
The “rail” part of this word refers, not to railroads (as I thought), but to the rails along racetracks. It seems clear that the second definition appeared first. Such a person, after sufficient watching would consider himself an expert, and thus, the first definition above. When I looked this word up on the internet, it seems that the definition has undergone further changes, and can now refer to any self-styled critic or expert or kibitzer. The word is a combination of rail (mentioned previously) and bird (in the sense of “a frequent visitor, as used in ‘jailbird’ or ‘yardbird’). This word is mostly used or found in America (an “Americanism”).