ſince I think I may be confident, that, whoever ſhould ſee a Creature of his own Shape and Make, tho it had no more Reaſon all its Life than a Cat or a Parrot, would call him ſtill a Man ; or whoever ſhould hear a cat or a parrot diſcourſe, reaſon, and philoſophize, would call or think it nothing but a Cat or a Parrot ; and ſay, the one was a dull irrational Man, and the other a very intelligent rational Parrot.
...he even instructs brutes in arts which are against their nature, making poets of ravens, jackdaws, chattering jays, parrots, and starlings, and poetesses of magpies, teaching them to utter human language, speak, and sing
1749 — "The Prospect of the Island of Tobago", The Universal Magazine (June), page 266.
So of the parraketoes, of which there are two ſorts ; one about the bigneſs of our Engliſh thruſh, but plumed like a parrot. But the ſmaller parraketo exceeds not a ſparrow in bigneſs, and, like the green parrot, may be taught to talk.
1789 — Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 11th edition, volume II, page 117, (originally published serially 1750-1752)
She quarrelled with one family, becauſe ſhe had an unpleaſant view from their windows; with another, becauſe the ſquirrel leaped within two yards of her; and with a third, becauſe ſhe could not bear the noiſe of the parrot.
Mrs Merdle was at home, and was in her nest of crimson and gold, with the parrot on a neighbouring stem watching her with his head on one side, as if he took her for another splendid parrot of a larger species.
1889 — Charles Norton Elvin, A Dictionary of Heraldry, p 97
The parrot when blazoned proper, is green, beaked and membered gules.
I do not deny that the poet may write an ode to a parrot as well as to a skylark; or for that matter a serenade to a penguin or a pelican. But he will prefer the parrot outside the parrothouse. He will prefer the pelican in the wilderness.
1700 — Thomas Brown, "Amusements Serious And Comical", "Westminster-Abbey"; republished in The Works of Mr. Thomas Brown (1760), volume III, part ii, page 128
To which we now ventur'd to enter, being firſt encountered by a dapper pert ſcoundrel in a crop-ear'd wig, the parrot of the place, but a piece of a Weſtminſter wit; for he throws in his jokes as formally, and as much to the purpoſe as a fanatick holder-forth does his text.
1769 — John Courtenay, Robert Jephson, The Batchelor: Or, Speculations of Jeoffry Wagstaffe, Esq, page 89
nay, whether it might not be unſaſe to affront the lap-dog or parrot of a member of parliament.
1789 — John Hoole, "To the Memory of Mrs. Margaret Woffington", published in Bell's Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry, volume IX, page 135
Thy judgment saw, thy taste each beauty caught, No senseless parrot of the poet's thought!
1814 — "Review of A Series of Popular Essays, The Monthly Review LXXIV (May-Aug), page 403
Nearly all the complaints of dullness and inattention, that we have had the opportunity of investigating, had originated in flie attempt of the teacher to make a parrot of the pupil, and to compel the repetition of words not understood, as if they were understood.
In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.
1872 — William Bodham Donne, Euripides, chapter III, page 53
He who could recite the whole Iliad or Odyssey was now looked upon, when compared with an acute rhetorician, as little better than a busy idler—all very well, perhaps, for enlivening the guests at a formal supper, or entertaining a loitering group in the streets. Even fools have sometimes portentous memories, but no fool could handle adroitly the weapons of a sound logician. Man was born to be something better than a parrot; he was meant to cultivate and to use "discourse of reason." To argue logically upon almost any premises,—to have words at command, to be ready in reply, fertile in objection, averse from granting propositions, to possess much general knowledge, were accomplishments which no well-educated young Athenian, aspiring to make a figure in public, could do without.
1943 — Vivian Connell, The Nineteenth Hole of Europe: A Play in Three Acts, page 95
To-day is the parrot of Yesterday, and To-morrow the parrot of To-day. Man does not change.
1896 — Elliott Coues, Key to North American Birds, page 800
With one exception (that of the Common Puffin or Sea Parrot of the Atlantic) all are confined to North Pacific and Polar waters.
1907 — Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, Major Vigoureaux, page 147
There the sea-parrots breed, and so thickly that you can scarcely set foot ashore without plunging into their houses; but there is a mound near the western end where no sea-parrot may come, for the herring-gulls and the black-backs claim it for their own.
1810 — John Williams, The Natural History of the Mineral Kingdom, 2nd edition, page 162
There is a thick stratum of coal among the edge-sems of Gilmerton, Loanhead, &c. in Midlothian, called the Great Seam, which contains coals of several different qualities and varieties, such as splent coal, roch coal, run splent coal, a stratum of fine parrot or cannel coal, of excellent quality, and a stratum of coarse parrot of inferior quality ; and there are in the same great seam varieties of the roch coals and of the run splents : so that this individual stratum contains a considerable nummber and variety of coal of different appearance, quality, and texture.
The Orphan of China, being a tragedy not being any way difficult or myſterious to thoſe who do not require to be parroted in their parts, we can aſſure the public that it is now in perfect readineſs, and will be performed this evening at the theatre in Smock-alley.
1818 — anonymous "Table Talk", "On the Ignorance of the Learned", The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany (July), page 57
The learned pedant is conversant with books only as they are made of other books, and those again of others, without end. He parrots those who have parrotted others. He can translate the same word into ten different languages, but he knows nothing of the thing which it means in any one of them.
1828 — "Reports on the Select Committee on Emigration from the United Kingdom" The Quarterly Review XXXVII (Jan/Mar), page 570
This system will construct a machine but it will not form a man. Of what does it consist? Of prayers parroted without one sentiment in accord with the words uttered; of moral lectures, which the understanding does not comprehend, or the heart feel...
1877 — anonymous, "M. Thiers: A Sketch from Life", Macmillan's Magazine (Nov), page 3
If asked to give an account of what passes in the moon, he would be at no loss to furnish one. He parrots every scientific theory and system, and really he looks like a parrot raised in some incomprehensible way into a human being.
So when political leaders parrot the tobacco company line, say cigarettes are not necessarily addictive, and oppose our efforts to keep tobacco away from our children, they continue to cater to powerful interests, but they're not standing up for parents and children.
"Birthday Natalie," Natalie repeats. I feel a stab of pain when I hear this. Natalie has come a long way. I can tell because this sounds like the old Natalie. She isn't parroting like this hardly anymore.