- 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
Related Words for stool pigeonbetrayer, blabbermouth, decoy, fink, informant, informer, plant, rat, sneak, snitch, source, spy, squealer, tattletale, turncoat, weasel, double-crosser, stoolie, tattler, canary
Examples from the Web for stool pigeon
Historical Examples of 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]