English edit

Etymology edit

From the act of tying or even nailing a pigeon to a stool to act as a decoy by hunters. Alternatively, from an alteration of stale (decoy) +‎ pigeon.

Pronunciation edit

  • (file)

Noun edit

stool pigeon (plural stool pigeons)

  1. (originally) A pigeon tied to a stool by a piece of twine, used as a decoy to entice free-flying birds to the ground to be shot or trapped.
  2. (slang, obsolete) A decoy used in a crooked gambling game.
  3. (slang) An informer to the authorities, especially one who gives up criminal associates.
    Synonyms: stoolie, stooly; see also Thesaurus:informant

Translations edit

References edit

  • 2005: Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 17th ed. Edited by John Ayto.

Anagrams edit