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[stool] /stul/
a single seat on legs or a pedestal and without arms or a back.
a short, low support on which to stand, step, kneel, or rest the feet while sitting.
Horticulture. the stump, base, or root of a plant from which propagative organs are produced, as shoots for layering.
the base of a plant that annually produces new stems or shoots.
a cluster of shoots or stems springing up from such a base or from any root, or a single shoot or layer.
a bird fastened to a pole or perch and used as a decoy.
an artificial duck or other bird, usually made from wood, used as a decoy by hunters.
a privy.
the fecal matter evacuated at each movement of the bowels.
the sill of a window.
a bishop's seat considered as symbolic of his authority; see.
the sacred chair of certain African chiefs, symbolic of their kingship.
verb (used without object)
to put forth shoots from the base or root, as a plant; form a stool.
Slang. to turn informer; serve as a stool pigeon.
fall between two stools, to fail, through hesitation or indecision, to select either of two alternatives.
Origin of stool
before 900; Middle English; Old English stōl; cognate with German Stuhl, Old Norse stōll, Gothic stols chair; all < Germanic *stō- (< Indo-European root of stand) + *-l- suffix; akin to OCS stolŭ throne
Related forms
stoollike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stool
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gracie, shielded by the distance, turned on her stool and studied him.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • His head dropped back on his chair; he propped his sagging legs on a stool.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • In the kitchen their mother sat on a stool, and peeled potatoes.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • And, casting the pen down, he turned his stool round impatiently.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • And he sprang from his stool, as their teacher entered the schoolroom door.

British Dictionary definitions for stool


a backless seat or footrest consisting of a small flat piece of wood, etc, resting on three or four legs, a pedestal, etc
a rootstock or base of a plant, usually a woody plant, from which shoots, etc, are produced
a cluster of shoots growing from such a base
(mainly US) a decoy used in hunting
waste matter evacuated from the bowels
a lavatory seat
(in W Africa, esp Ghana) a chief's throne
fall between two stools
  1. to fail through vacillation between two alternatives
  2. to be in an unsatisfactory situation through not belonging to either of two categories or groups
verb (intransitive)
(of a plant) to send up shoots from the base of the stem, rootstock, etc
to lure wildfowl with a decoy
Word Origin
Old English stōl; related to Old Norse stōll, Gothic stōls, Old High German stuol chair, Greek stulos pillar
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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Word Origin and History for stool

Old English stol "seat for one person," from Proto-Germanic *stolaz (cf. Old Frisian stol, Old Norse stoll, Old High German stuol, German Stuhl "seat," Gothic stols "high seat, throne"), from PIE *sta-lo-, locative of root *sta- "to stand" (cf. Lithuanian pa-stolas "stand," Old Church Slavonic stolu "stool;" see stet).

Originally used of thrones (cf. cynestol "royal seat, throne"); change of meaning began with adoption of chair from French, which relegated stool to small seats without arms or backs, then "privy" (early 15c.) and thence to "bowel movement" (1530s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stool in Medicine

stool (stōōl)

  1. A discharging of the bowels.

  2. Evacuated fecal matter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for stool



(also stoolie) A police informer; stool pigeon: He's nothing but a cop's stool (Underworld 1906+, variant 1924+)


: to make me stool on a friend (1911+)

[back formation fr stool pigeon]

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 stool


In addition to the idiom beginning with stool also see: fall between the cracks (two stools)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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