The Online Etymology Dictionary only has the origin of the stool pigeon (bird) one, so I was wondering if anyone could assist in finding the origin or first occurrence for stoolpigeon? Learn a new word every day. The 1830 citation may be the first recorded instance of the figurative use, but I'm not sure. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Yet your answer talks about the second and another variety 'stool-pigeon'.

:-). The use of stool in this sense is older than that of stool pigeon — the earliest reference in the OED is to the town records of Huntington, New York, in 1825: “No person shall be permitted to gun with macheanes [machines] or stools in said Town”. All rights reserved. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest citation for stool-pigeon is dated 1830 and comes from the ‘Workingman’s Gazette’ published in Woodstock, Vermont. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020. Cookies and privacy +1 Couldn't have said it better myself, though I certainly tried.

See the full definition for stool pigeon in the English Language Learners Dictionary, More from Merriam-Webster on stool pigeon, Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stool pigeon.

@Callithumpian Yes, I sent the antedating directly to Doug Harper. A stool pigeon is a person who might be a criminal or a spy sent in by the police to act as an informant. probably from the early practice of fastening the decoy bird to a stool. The next stool-pigeon in 1825 is a human decoy to lure others to Presbyterianism; an 1826 stool-pigeon seems to be a human decoy; 1829 is the literal avian decoy; 1829 is a lord "used by him as a stool-pigeon to betray the unwary". To add to my suspicions about this definition, it seems from the evidence that stool pigeon has always been used for a person, never for a hunter’s decoy. A very clear indication of crossover is shown in the 1859 Dictionary of Americanisms: STOOL-PIGEON. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. Send us feedback. Presumably the reference is to a tree stump rather than the backless seat with short legs (though as the tree stump sense of the word is rather uncommon, it does make one wonder; would a hunter actually carry a stool out into the field specifically for the purpose?). I did not find that collocation in the popular press, although the use of 'stale' alone in the sense of 'decoy bird' is attested through the late 19th century (OED). So, with respect to the OPs questino, you're not distinguishing the meaning of the three spelling variants 'stool pigeon', 'stool-pigeon', and 'stoolpigeon'? 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'?
By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. How to write a pickup measure with 5/16 duration in Lilypond? What's the origin of the phrase 'Stool pigeon'?

Doug Harper has now updated the Online Etymology Dictionary entry for stool pigeon with a nice and succinct answer as a result of Hugo's answer. Presumably it is originally used jocularly (as in the OED quote), and outgrew its parent. The verb for this action evolved into our modern sense in phrases like to stall for time. What would prevent an eldritch deity from gaining the abilities of others that it absorbs? Select your currency from the list and click Donate. was used like a ‘stool pigeon’, to decoy the others. Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. I was hoping it might be more obvious to someone who knows the United States better than I do. Delivered to your inbox!

The Evening Post (New York, New York), 15 Sep 1806, p 2 (paywalled link, italics mine). The OP drew a distinction between 'stoolpigeon' and 'stool pigeon' and asks about 'the former.

I know numbers of men in the 7th ward who always voted the democratic ticket, and who now, through me, vote the republican ticket. World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. "Hey keep your mouths shut around this new prisoner; he might be a stool pigeon!" The next is from Washington Irving in 1836: One man . We should definitely do this more often, is such a great resource we should help improve it. First Known Use of stool pigeon 1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1 History and Etymology for stool pigeon probably from the early practice of fastening the decoy bird to a stool rev 2020.10.22.37874, The best answers are voted up and rise to the top, English Language & Usage Stack Exchange works best with JavaScript enabled, Start here for a quick overview of the site, Detailed answers to any questions you might have, Discuss the workings and policies of this site, Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us. It seems pretty clear from all this that the Americans who started to employ stool for a decoy bird were using yet another version of this old word. voters for the next Presidency—warranted to suit either party.

Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! the FBI finally got a break when one of the mob boss's top henchmen turned, They are barred from using certain language during debates including git, guttersnipe, swine and, Post the Definition of stool pigeon to Facebook, Share the Definition of stool pigeon on Twitter, 'Cordial': A Word Straight from the Heart. What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'. 'Decoy pigeon' appears as early as 1818 (US), but then as a political metaphor, perhaps derived from the earlier uses of 'stool pigeon': my certain knowledge this prothonotary's office has been promised to at least ten persons already; these offices are the finest decoy-pigeons in the world.... Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 23 Oct 1818, p 2 (paywalled link, italics mine). Give us the names. Stale appears in English from the early fifteenth century; by the end of the following century it was being used for a person who acted to entrap another.
In what way? Q.

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