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 hawk
s into nets for capture.
While some people contend the phrase origin is as simple as that the French would nail pigeon decoy
s 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 duck
s with decoys.