A rat. A snitch. A tattler. One who reveals or confesses crimes hurting friends for his own benefit.

Although "stool pigeon" is generally used today to mean a snitch, usually a prison house snitch, it was originally used to mean a tool or person used to lure a criminal into a trap.

The phrase comes to us from the French, those dastardly French, who used pigeons to lure hawks into nets for capture.

While some people contend the phrase origin is as simple as that the French would nail pigeon decoys to a stool to lure in a hawk, the "stool" itself does not actually refer to a piece of furniture. Rather "stool" implies a decoy. Stooling was a term used for hunting ducks with decoys.

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