stool pigeon

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stool pigeon

An informant, especially a criminal working as a spy for law enforcement officers. Although the criminal agreed to help the police in order to avoid prison time, he was afraid the other gang members would kill him if they discovered he was a stool pigeon.
See also: pigeon, stool
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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]
See also: pigeon, stool
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a stool pigeon

A stool pigeon is someone who gives secret information to the police. There's nothing the mob hates more than a stool pigeon. Note: This expression is used to express disapproval. Note: This expression comes from the old practice of putting a wooden pigeon on a seat to trick other pigeons.
See also: pigeon, stool
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

stool (pigeon)

and stoolie (ˈstul ˈpɪdʒən and ˈstuli)
n. an informer. (Originally underworld.) Some stool pigeon spilled the works to the boys in blue. I’m no stoolie!
See also: pigeon, stool
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Stool Pigeon calmly reminds King, "What if you in somebody else's circle and you don't know it" (203).
Stool Pigeon Lou Myers King Russell Hornsby Ruby Lynda Gravatt Mister Curtis McClarin Tonya Cherise Boothe Elmore Stephen McKinley Henderson Regardless of how fine a production it receives, "King Hedley II" will always remain one of the lesser works in the August Wilson canon, a shadow of its glittering companion piece, "Seven Guitars." That said, within the ambitious context of Signature Theater's retrospective season of Wilson plays, Derrick Sanders' production is a laudable piece of work, gorgeously acted and deeply felt by a tight ensemble of thesps who know their way around the inner landscape of characters that have grown to haunt us over the years.
The label's most popular artist Ja Rule has already written lyrics saying 50 Cent is a stool pigeon. In return, 50 Cent has taunted his nemesis on his track, Wangsta.
The awesome Jeremy Piven (Ari from Entourage) plays Buddy "Aces" Israel, a sleazy magician who is linked to the Las Vegas mob, and who decides to turn stool pigeon against his gangster pals.
Ten years later, Lau (morphed into Andy Lau) has become an inspector with a spotless record, and Chan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) a nervy stool pigeon living on his wits and close to burn-out, his real identity known only to Wong.
When, thanks to the resident stool pigeon, Modou's squirreled-away savings fall prey to Serigne, Modou steals from the marabout only to be caught and severely beaten.
MEXICAN RAVE: Hamed on the receiving end as Barrera scores with a left; STOOL PIGEON: Emanuel Steward offers advice between rounds; GOTCHA AGAIN: Hamed taking a hammering
However, when he decides to go stool pigeon against his gangster pals, he becomes their number one target.
Stool Pigeon Stephen McKinley Henderson King Brian Stokes Mitchell Ruby Leslie Uggams Mister Monte Russell Tonya Viola Davis Elmore Charles Brown By any standard but the playwright's own, August Wilson's "King Hedley II" probably would rank as an impressive accomplishment.
King Hedley II Tony Todd Ruby Marlene Warfield Mister Russell Andrews Tonya Ella Joyce Stool Pigeon Mel Winkler Elmore Charles Brown A dramatic howl of anguish at the horrors wrought in the 1980s by guns and crime, family dysfunction and urban neglect, August Wilson's unflinching new play may be the most passionate work that this astonishing American author has penned to date.
A recreation of the victim's face identifies him as Nicky LaGrassa, a former hitman who turned stool pigeon and brought down members of the Mafia.
Sam then visits a mobster's restaurant where a stool pigeon is being brutally tortured for info about a contract put out by one mob head on another.
In Mafia tradition, it is a sign that a hit has been carried out on a stool pigeon.
Thousands died in Colombia, Mexico and other countries that grappled with a serious drug problem, with the narcos killing not only law enforcers but also members of rival cartels, suspected stool pigeons and anyone who got caught in the crossfire, including children.
This use of "stool pigeons" was common practce throughout the war.