I saw this expression in a novel Baker's Blue-jay Yarn by Mark Twain.

Here is the part:

And as for command of language - why you never see a blue-jay get stuck for a word. No man ever did. They just boil out of him!

2 Answers 2


This use is similar to the phrase "boil over":

  1. if a liquid boils over when it is heated, it rises and flows over the side of the container
  2. if a situation or an emotion boils over, the people involved stop being calm

So, boil out can mean overflow.

A blue jay is considered to be a very chatty bird.

This excerpt is implying that no one has ever found a blue jay that couldn't find the right words, the words just overflow from its mouth.

  • I agree with your interpretation, but I wanted to add that this is not a common idiom or metaphor nowadays. If I had a chatty friend, I'd be very unlikely to say, "The words just boil out of him." Nowadays, when associated with speech, boil is more likely to indicate anger than an abundance of words.
    – J.R.
    Jul 26, 2015 at 10:38
  • I'd add that "boil out of" means more than overflow. It implies an active, chaotic process, just as boiling water does not smoothly exit a vessel - it bubbles and moves around. The classic is "ants boiling out of a disturbed anthill", and if you've ever seen it you understand why "overflow" doesn't do it justice. Jul 26, 2015 at 13:32
  • @J.R. We do actually still use it to a degree, though we have swapped the more cheery "bubble" for "boil".
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2015 at 15:36

I'd add that "boil out of" means the liquid in the process of boiling flow out of the container roughly or too much boiling of water which lead water or liquid to decrease volume of it

  • Yes, but there is no similar implication that a blue jay will run out of words. In fact, this implies that the bird will always be full of words.
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2015 at 15:30

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