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Pigeon (To)

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To cheat, to gull one of his money by almost self-evident hoaxes. Pigeons are very easily gulled, caught by snares, or scared by malkins. One easily gulled is called a pigeon. The French pigeon means a dupe.

“Je me deffieroy tantost que tu serois un de ceux qui ne se laissent si facilement pigeonner à telles gens.”—Les Dialogues de Jacques Tahureau, (1585).

Flying the pigeons. Stealing coals from a cart or sack between the coaldealer’s yard and the house of the customer.

Flying the blue pigeon. Stealing the lead from off the roofs of churches or buildings of any kind.

To pigeon a person is to cheat him clandestinely. A gullible person is called a pigeon, and in the sporting world sharps and flats are called “rooks and pigeons.” The brigands of Spain used to be called palomos (pigeons); and in French argot a dupe is called pechon, or peschon de ruby; where pechon or peschon is the Italian piccione (a pigeon), and de ruby is a pun on dérobé, bamboozled.

To pluck a pigeon. To cheat a gullible person of his money. To fleece a greenhorn. (See Greenhorn.)


“‘Here comes a nice pigeon to pluck,ʹ said one of the thieves.”—C. Reade.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Pig-back, Picka-back
Pig-eyes
Pig Hunt (A)
Pig-iron
Pig and Tinderbox
Pig and Whistle
Pig in a Poke (A)
Pigs
Pigskin (A)
Pigtails (The)
Pigeon (To)
Pigeon, Pigeons
Pigeon-English or Pigeon-talk
Pigeon-hole (A)
Pigeon-livered
Pigeon Pair
Pigg
Piggy-wiggy or Piggy-whidden
Pightel or Pightle
Pigmy
Piganey or Pigsnie