- a pigeon used as a decoy.
- Also called stool·ie [stoo-lee] /ˈstu li/, stooly. Slang. a person employed or acting as a decoy or informer, especially for the police.
Origin of stool pigeon
Examples from the Web for stool pigeon
Now, the stool-pigeon in this trick is a swell English crook.Within the Law
He'd tell them why some day and they'd know that Tim Murphy wasn't no "stool-pigeon."Spring Street
James H. Richardson
If there were no thieves, where would the stool-pigeon and detective find their profits?American Sketches
Do you take me fer a stool-pigeon, to go into such a deal with my eyes blinded?Dangerous Ground
Lawrence L. Lynch
Among them Annouchka had the ignoble nickname, "Stool-pigeon."The Secret of the Night
- a living or dummy pigeon used to decoy others
- an informer for the police; nark
- US slang a person acting as a decoy
Word Origin and History for stool pigeon
"police informer," 1868, American English; earlier "one who betrays the unwary (or is used to betray them)," 1821, originally a decoy bird (1812); said to be from decoys being fastened to stools to lure other pigeons. But perhaps related to stall "decoy bird" (c.1500), especially "a pigeon used to entice a hawk into the net" (see stall (n.2)). Also cf. pigeon.
An informer, especially for the police: “Lefty figured out that Mugsy was the stool pigeon when he saw him talking to the warden.”
Idioms and Phrases with stool pigeon
A decoy or informer, especially a police spy. For example, Watch out for Doug; I'm sure he's a stool pigeon for the supervisor. This term alludes to a bird tied to a stool or similar perch in order to attract other birds, which will then be shot. However, one writer believes that stool is a variant for stale or stall, both nouns used for a decoy bird before 1500 or so. [c. 1820]