Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who offers others strong yet delusive enticements.
  • n. One, such as a leader, who makes irresponsible promises.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. That which draws many in its wake.

Etymologies

After The Pied Piper of Hamelin, title and hero of a poem by Robert Browning.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the folk tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who led away the townsfolk's children in revenge for being unpaid for ridding the town of rats. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Last summer, I met two role models for my business, Life Balance, Inc. In awe I watched Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the National Chain Drug Store Association, lead his organization with a compelling kindness that is difficult to describe—a sort of benevolent yet intensely powerful pied piper leadership style that empowers both optimist and cynic alike.

    I Used to Have a Handle on Life But It Broke

  • He led them to the main ward, a blazing blue-white pied piper leading a cho­rus of dead children.

    Prayers To Broken Stones

  • Emerging from their places on the side streets at the other two points of the triangle came the Goblin Market: the woman who sold wind chimes, the man at the knife stall who’d tackled a customer, the necklace-selling pied piper with the gleaming dark eyes.

    The Demons Covenant

Comments

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  • I own a hand-colored lithograph from an antique folio-sized volume that illustrated the costumes of medieval France. My print depicts traveling musicians - The piper plays a simple cornemuse, and is dressed in a cap with donkey ears and clothing that is not particolored. The flautist wears dark green and white pied livery. Both costumes are very reminiscent of those I've seen worn by Morris dance participants.

    February 17, 2011

  • Not to be confused with the pide piper who, with his ney a-warbling, cleared the town of Turkish pizza joints.

    February 17, 2011

  • The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in pied (multicolored) clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizenry refuses to pay for this service, he retaliates by turning his magic on their children, leading them away as he had the rats

    February 17, 2011