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clay pigeon

Trapshooting, Skeet. a disk of baked clay or other material hurled into the air from a trap as a target.
Slang. a person in a situation likely to be taken advantage of by others.
Origin of clay pigeon
An Americanism dating back to 1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clay pigeon
Historical Examples
  • It takes more skill to break a clay pigeon than to kill a quail.

    Bird Guide Chester A. Reed
  • I think no more of shooting them than of smashing a clay pigeon.

  • Raffles went and wound up the throwing apparatus, and set the clay pigeon on the rest.

    Acton's Feud Frederick Swainson
  • He is as erratic in his flight as a clay pigeon, though it is tolerably safe to assume that he will not jump backward.

    'Me-Smith' Caroline Lockhart
  • In that which was left of a clay pigeon he would take not the faintest interest—the scent of it was paltry.

  • I, with many misgivings, had a clay pigeon thrown, but the gun refused to go off.

  • I'm getting pretty tired of being a clay pigeon for a bunch of brats.

    Sabotage in Space Carey Rockwell
British Dictionary definitions for clay pigeon

clay pigeon

a disc of baked clay hurled into the air from a machine as a target to be shot at
(US, slang) a person in a defenceless position; sitting duck
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for clay pigeon

clay pigeon

noun phrase

  1. A person who is easily duped; easy mark (1920s+)
  2. An aircraft catapulted from a ship (1940s+ Navy)
  3. Something easily done; cinch (1950s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with clay pigeon

clay pigeon

A person easily duped or taken advantage of, as in You're a clay pigeon for all of those telephone fund-raisers . The term alludes to the clay pigeon of trapshooting, which replaced the use of live birds in this sport in the 1860s. Its transfer to figurative use in the first half of the 1900s probably is explained by the much older slang use of pigeon for “dupe.” Also see fall guy
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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