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stool pigeon

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noun
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.
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Origin of stool pigeon

An Americanism dating back to 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use stool pigeon in a sentence

  • But remember, if he's a stoolie, you're the bird that's going to get it.

    Spring Street|James H. Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for stool pigeon

stool pigeon

noun
a living or dummy pigeon used to decoy others
an informer for the police; nark
US slang a person acting as a decoy
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

Cultural definitions for stool pigeon

stool pigeon

An informer, especially for the police: “Lefty figured out that Mugsy was the stool pigeon when he saw him talking to the warden.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with stool pigeon

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]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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