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: one who plays a subordinate or compliant role to a principal


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stooged; stooging

intransitive verb

: to act as a stooge
congressmen who stooge for the oil and mineral interestsNew Republic

Examples of stooge in a Sentence

Noun a gangster and his stooges He's just a stooge for the oil industry.
Recent Examples on the Web
DeSantis and his stooges are pretending that the truth about America’s racist past should be suppressed for fear of making white children feel bad. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2023 DeSantis fired its board of trustees and replaced it with a clutch of right-wing stooges including Rufo. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2024 At the party convention, speaker after speaker denounced Tusk, characterizing him as a German stooge. Luke Johnson, The New Republic, 13 Oct. 2023 That can hardly come as a surprise, since DeSantis made a special effort to stock it with five reliable Republican stooges (and one conservative Democrat) who happen to be Black but have no expertise as historians. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2023 That’s character in literature: not a stooge in your reverie of fair play and sound politics, but a creature of his time. Andrew O’Hagan, The New York Review of Books, 2 Mar. 2023 How to not feel like a needy buzzkill, and how to not make your friends feel like stooges. Tom Rasmussen, Vogue, 23 Feb. 2023 There was also a fiendishly complicated mind-reading act based on a memorized system of word clues relayed by the stooge to the sham mentalist. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 26 May 2021 In China, Zhang’s letter received hundreds of sharp replies, condemning him as a traitor, a coward and an American stooge, sometimes referencing his youthful blog posts that favorably described American culture and politics. Alex W. Palmer, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2022
Many Western officials believe that Orban is leveraging that relationship in order to bully his European allies by playing the part of a Kremlin stooge: Act tough on support for Ukraine, a key priority for most of Europe, in exchange for concessions in other areas. Luke McGee, CNN, 28 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stooge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1939, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stooge was in 1913

Dictionary Entries Near stooge

Cite this Entry

“Stooge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: one who follows or serves another without thinking
: an actor who usually by asking questions prepares the way for a principal comedian's jokes
stooge verb

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