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

  • n. A backless and armless single seat supported on legs or a pedestal.
  • n. A low bench or support for the feet or knees in sitting or kneeling, as a footrest.
  • n. A toilet seat; a commode.
  • n. Fecal matter from a single bowel movement.
  • n. Botany A stump or rootstock that produces shoots or suckers.
  • n. Botany A shoot or growth from such a stump or rootstock.
  • intransitive v. Botany To send up shoots or suckers.
  • intransitive v. To evacuate the bowels; defecate.
  • intransitive v. Slang To act as a stool pigeon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A seat for one person without a back or armrest.
  • n. A footstool.
  • n. Feces; excrement.
  • n. A decoy.
  • n. A seat; a seat with a back; a chair.
  • n. (literally and figuratively) Throne.
  • n. A seat used in evacuating the bowels; a toilet.
  • n. A small channel on the side of a vessel, for the dead-eyes of the backstays.
  • n. Material, such as oyster shells, spread on the sea bottom for oyster spat to adhere to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plant from which layers are propagated by bending its branches into the soil.
  • n. A single seat with three or four legs and without a back, made in various forms for various uses.
  • n. A seat used in evacuating the bowels; hence, an evacuation; a discharge from the bowels.
  • n. A stool pigeon, or decoy bird.
  • n. A small channel on the side of a vessel, for the dead-eyes of the backstays.
  • n. A bishop's seat or see; a bishop-stool.
  • n. A bench or form for resting the feet or the knees; a footstool.
  • n. Material, such as oyster shells, spread on the sea bottom for oyster spat to adhere to.
  • intransitive v. To ramfy; to tiller, as grain; to shoot out suckers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To throw up shoots from the root, as a grass or a grain-plant; form a stool. See stool, n., 6.
  • To decoy duck or other fowl by means of stools.
  • To be decoyed; respond to a decoy.
  • To evacuate the bowels.
  • To plow; cultivate.
  • n. A seat or chair; now, in particular, a seat, whether high or low, consisting of a piece of wood mounted usually on three or four legs, and without a back, intended for one person; also, any support of like construction used as a rest for the feet, or for the knees when kneeling.
  • n. The seat of a bishop; a see.
  • n. Same as ducking-stool.
  • n. The seat used in easing the bowels; hence, a fecal evacuation; a discharge from the bowels.
  • n. A frame for tapestry-work.
  • n. The root or stump of a timber-tree, or of a bush, cane, grass, etc., which throws up shoots; also, the cluster of shoots thus produced.
  • n. The mother plant from which young plants are propagated by the process of layering.
  • n. Nautical: A small channel in the side of a vessel for the deadeyes of the backstays.
  • n. An ornamental block placed over the stem to support a poop-lantern.
  • n. A movable pole or perch to which a pigeon is fastened as a lure or decoy for wild birds. See the extract under stool-pigeon, 1.
  • n. Hence A stool-pigeon; also, a decoy-duck.
  • n. Material spread on the bottom for oysterspat to cling to; set, either natural or artificial. See Cultch.
  • n. (See also camp-stool, footstool, night-stool, piano-stool.)
  • n. In wooden ships, one of the pieces of plank bolted to the quarters for the purpose of forming and erecting the galleries; also, one of the ornamental blocks for the poop lanterns to stand on abaft.
  • n. In iron ship-building, a small foundation or seating for the support of some part of the machinery, as the shaft-bearings, pumps, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a simple seat without a back or arms
  • v. react to a decoy, of wildfowl
  • n. (forestry) the stump of a tree that has been felled or headed for the production of saplings
  • v. grow shoots in the form of stools or tillers
  • n. a plumbing fixture for defecation and urination
  • v. have a bowel movement
  • v. lure with a stool, as of wild fowl
  • n. solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels


Middle English, from Old English stōl; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English stool, stole, stol, from Old English stōl ("chair, seat, throne"), from Proto-Germanic *stōlaz (“chair”) (compare West Frisian/Dutch stoel, German Stuhl, Swedish/Danish/Norwegian stol), from Proto-Indo-European *stālo (compare Lithuanian stálas, Russian  (stol') 'table', Serbo-Croatian stol 'table', Slovenian stol 'chair', Albanian kështallë 'crutch', Ancient Greek stolōn 'pillar'), from *stā- 'to stand'. More at stand. (Wiktionary)



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  • 'Now I'll tell you a secret. Lady Chestrum and I don't always hit it; she has such odd fancies. Would you believe it? she is every now and then for hearing me my Catechism. I take physic to please her twice a week; and if I have not stools enough, I must have another dose.'
    —Robert Bage, 1796, Hermsprong

    I know even the late eighteenth century is not the time of Jane Austen, but I goggled at this and had to read it repeatedly to convince myself it said what it did. This is a meeting in polite society between a brainless, shiftless aristocrat and a refined, shy young lady he is trying to persuade of his merits as a future husband. And he is discussing the quantity of his stools.

    March 21, 2009

  •                  On
    an alloy stool towards late afternoon
    I spin with, under me, coiled-round chrome,
    legs belonging to one quite elsewhere.

    - Peter Reading, Almshouse, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008