stool pigeon definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a pigeon or other bird used as a decoy
- a person serving as a decoy
- Informal a spy or informer, esp. for the policealso stoolienoun
stool pigeon definition by American Heritage Dictionary
nounThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- Slang A person acting as a decoy or as an informer, especially one who is a spy for the police.
- A pigeon used as a decoy.
Origin: From the practice of tying decoy pigeons to a stool to attract other pigeons.
stool pigeon - Cultural Definition
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
An informer, especially for the police: “Lefty figured out that Mugsy was the stool pigeon when he saw him talking to the warden.”
stool pigeon - Phrases/Idioms
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]