Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: CRIME

Date: 1800-1900
Origin: stoolpigeon 'pigeon tied to a wooden frame to attract other birds for shooting at' (1800-1900)

stoolpigeon

noun
     
stool‧pi‧geon [countable] American English informal
SCC someone, especially a criminal, who helps the police to catch another criminal, usually by giving them information [= informer]
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