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

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

a stool pigeon

OLD-FASHIONED
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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
She has an apparent monopoly on the noun coze 'chat' (Mansfield Park): does this clarify the later cozer/cozey (male & female stool pigeons), surmised as Yiddish in Eric Partridge's Dictionary of the Underworld (1950)?
Meanwhile, one can envisage a scenario in which bobbies are set-up night after night by dodgy-looking stool pigeons who will walk away from the encounter with their precious pieces of paper, howling with laughter, while around the corner one of their mates is legging it with a sackful of swag.
I gave up counting after twenty references to nervous stool pigeons who testify to Doris Lessing's prickly nature.
The real problem, according to one federal agent, was a reluctance to "lock horns with the higher ups," as officials "simply meet with stool pigeons and knock off the petty peddlers that they turned in."(43)
At least that would be one way of interrupting McCann - because the stool pigeons on the board have no intention of answering him back!
Part of the process was a purge of (fascistic) Black Legion supporters and stool pigeons. The sit-down was, of course, the primary tactic the union used to force GM to accept a trade union presence.