Definition of stooge in US English:



  • 1derogatory A person who serves merely to support or assist others, particularly in doing unpleasant work.

    ‘he seems more like a stooge than a master criminal’
    • ‘His stooges would turn up at the Party meetings and block the vote.’
    • ‘Debate was kept to a minimum and opponents of the leaders' strategy were ridiculed or heckled by their stooges in the audience.’
    • ‘They think I'm just some stooge here to make sure the roads and runways are clear of ice when the blizzards come.’
    • ‘She will be nobody's stooge, least of all Washington's.’
    • ‘His role as a company stooge earned him the hatred of workers at the Louisville plant.’
    • ‘We need to start a special project documenting political party stooges in the media.’
    • ‘Human-resources staffers walk a fine line: employees see them as stooges for management, and management views them as annoying do-gooders representing employees.’
    • ‘But real democracy can only come through mass movements of ordinary people, not by the orders of imperial rulers and their stooges.’
    • ‘He's not some bloated old Masonic corporate stooge; he's a man of the people - a liberal, even - and he wants everyone to know it.’
    • ‘Scorning the help of the secret service stooges following them, she pulled the car into a service station and told William to leave it all to her.’
    • ‘He may, for political reasons, be deemed worthy of prosecution, but such measures will not be applied either to the imperialist leaders or their favoured stooges.’
    • ‘Without local stooges to stand between them and the people, they'll have to do all the oppressing themselves.’
    • ‘Now, the corporate lords who fought their way up the corporate ladder from the rank of stooge to the rank of master don't care as much.’
    • ‘Sometimes they are heroes - doctors and engineers cleaning up slums, lawyers fighting for the rights of oppressed minorities; and sometimes they are villains - stooges and lackeys of the ruling class.’
    • ‘The problem with Sullivan is that he's wanted to be someone's stooge for so long, he thinks his job is to support the people in power.’
    • ‘Unless a lot more people decide to stand as independents, and most of them get voted in in place of the traditional party stooges, there isn't a great deal we, as voters, can do.’
    • ‘He has the odd misfortune of repeatedly hiring party stooges for key assignments who stab him in the back as soon as they leave his employ.’
    • ‘We stand by and allow them to remove many democratically elected presidents from office and replace them with imperialist stooges.’
    • ‘Yes, obviously he was a stooge for the Republican Party.’
    • ‘On election day, he and two other stooges jammed phone lines, preventing Democrats from reaching voters in need of a ride to the polls.’
    underling, minion, lackey, subordinate, assistant
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  • 2A performer whose act involves being the butt of a comedian's jokes.

    • ‘The cheeky glove puppet fox hosts a variety and sketch show format - a procession of comic stooges play straight man and second fiddle to his antics.’
    • ‘As the film progresses, a one-way process of the performance is firmly established, involving the humiliation of Judy as the stooge.’
    butt, foil, straight man
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[no object]
  • 1informal Move around aimlessly; drift or cruise.

    ‘she stooged around in the bathroom for a while’
    • ‘Well, if you couldn't be there in person, celebrating England's triumph over their traditional cricketing foe while stooging around the Caribbean would take some beating.’
    • ‘We stooged around for a while, treading air, then fired the burner, to give us a few hours of heat.’
    • ‘After stooging around our patrol area for the required time and seeing nothing, it was time to return home.’
    • ‘As Viola, she delivers the bard's verses with an uncommon fluency as she stooges across the stage.’
    loaf, lounge, idle, laze, languish, moon, stooge, droop, dally, dawdle, amble, potter, wander, drift, meander
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  • 2Perform a role that involves being the butt of a comedian's jokes.


Early 20th century: of unknown origin.