Definition of stool in English:

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Pronunciation: /stuːl/


1A seat without a back or arms, typically resting on three or four legs or on a single pedestal.
Example sentences
  • I nodded and took a seat on the single stool behind the counter.
  • Located on three levels with seating on stools, settees and at conventional tables, the place has a modern airy atmosphere.
  • As I glanced around the room, I only saw a few stools and a single rusted metal couch.
2A piece of faeces: fibre in the child’s diet will soften the stools [mass noun]: concentrations of the substance in normal stool
More example sentences
  • More than 80 percent of acute anal fissures will heal spontaneously with the use of dietary fiber to soften and bulk the stool.
  • Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it.
  • The symptoms of food intolerance can include burping, indigestion, flatulence, loose stools, headaches, flushing, or nervousness.
3A root or stump of a tree or plant from which shoots spring.
4US A decoy bird in hunting.


[no object]
1(Of a plant) throw up shoots from the root.
1.1 [with object] Cut back (a plant) to or near ground level in order to induce new growth.
Example sentences
  • After another display next winter, they should be stooled - cut right back to within 150 mm of the base.



at stool

Medicine When defecating: it may be induced by a hard bowel movement or straining at stool
More example sentences
  • Do not let patients confuse normal defecation with straining at stool.
  • The sort of stresses that induce these changes include blowing against a resistance, lifting heavy objects, and straining at stool.
  • It may be induced by a hard bowel movement or straining at stool.

fall between two stools

British Fail to be or take one of two satisfactory alternatives: the work fell between two stools, being neither genuinely popular nor truly scholarly
More example sentences
  • In certain instances, this is the book's weakness in that it falls between two stools, being truly neither one nor the other.
  • We seem to fall between two stools because the modern premises that we would like to move into are far too expensive and the older mill buildings tend to have water gushing in through the roof.
  • I felt that the game fell between two stools in that it was supposed to be scary yet it presented itself as an extremely tacky 1950s horror film.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stoel, German Stuhl, also to stand. Current senses of the verb date from the late 18th century.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times a stool was any kind of seat for one person, and in particular a throne. Among the other types of seat it came to refer to was one enclosing a chamber pot, and so a privy or lavatory. Then the word was transferred to the act of going to the toilet itself, which is how it ended up as a term for faeces. The Groom of the Stool was formerly a high officer of the royal household, in medieval times responsible for the royal commode or privy. To fall between two stools is to fail to take either of two satisfactory alternatives. This comes from the old proverb between two stools one falls to the ground, which was first referred to in English by the medieval writer John Gower around 1390: ‘Thou farest as he between two stools That would sit and goes to ground.’ The first stool pigeon (late 19th century) is often said to have been a pigeon fixed to a stool as a decoy for wildfowl, but in reality it probably had nothing to do with a small chair. It is more likely to come from the old term stale, from Old French estale, applied to a pigeon used to entice a hawk into a net. It came to be applied to a person employed by gamblers or criminals as a decoy, and later (on the other side of the law) to a police informer. See also nark

Words that rhyme with stool

Banjul, befool, Boole, boule, boules, boulle, cagoule, cool, drool, fool, ghoul, Joule, mewl, misrule, mule, O'Toole, pool, Poole, pul, pule, Raoul, rule, school, shul, sool, spool, Stamboul, Thule, tomfool, tulle, you'll, yule

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Line breaks: stool

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