General English


  • A narrow interior shelf, across the lower part of a window opening, that butts against the sill.
  • A framed support.
  • A toilet.


  • noun a piece of solid waste matter which is passed out of the bowels
  • verb to pass a piece of solid matter out of the bowels

Origin & History of “stool”

Although stools are for sitting on, the word’s etymological meaning is ‘stand’. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *stōlaz, which was formed from the base *stō-, *sta- ‘stand’ (source of English stand) using the noun suffix *-l- (in much the same way as saddle was formed from a base meaning ‘sit’). The notion of ‘standing’ no doubt passed into ‘sitting’ via an intermediate generalized ‘be positioned or situated’. In the 15th century stool came to be applied specifically to a ‘commode’, and this led to its use in the following century for an ‘act of defecating’, and hence for a ‘piece of faeces’. Stoolpigeon (19th c.) originated in American English as a term for a decoy pigeon tied to a stool.