stool pigeon


: a person acting as a decoy or informer
especially : a spy sent into a group to report (as to the police) on its activities
: a pigeon used as a decoy to draw others within a net

Examples of stool pigeon in a Sentence

the FBI finally got a break when one of the mob boss's top henchmen turned stool pigeon
Recent Examples on the Web They are barred from using certain language during debates including git, guttersnipe, swine and stool pigeon. Max Colchester, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2019

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

Word History


probably from the early practice of fastening the decoy bird to a stool

First Known Use

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stool pigeon was in 1826

Dictionary Entries Near stool pigeon

Cite this Entry

“Stool pigeon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition

stool pigeon

: a person acting as a spy or informer for the police

from stool pigeon "a pigeon tied to a stool and used as a decoy to draw other birds into a net"

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