Etymology
Advertisement
decoy (v.)

1650s, "to allure or entice;" 1670s, "to lure (someone or something) into a trap or snare, entrap by allurements," from decoy (n.). Related: Decoyed; decoying.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
decoy (n.)

1610s, "a swindler;" 1650s, "anything intended to lead (someone) into a snare;" 1660s, "a lure employed in enticing game into a snare or within range of a weapon;" perhaps from Dutch kooi "cage," used of a pond surrounded by nets, into which wildfowl were lured for capture, from West Germanic *kaiwa, from Latin cavea "cage" (from cavus "a hollow" (from PIE root *keue- "to swell," also "vault, hole").

The first element is possibly the Dutch definite article de, mistaken in English as part of the word. If this is right, the later sense in English is the etymological one. But decoy, of unknown origin, was the name of a card game popular c. 1550-1650, and this may have influenced the form of the word.

Related entries & more 
deke (n.)

1960, ice hockey slang for a quick feinting move meant to induce an opponent out of position, short for decoy. The verb is attested from 1961. Related: Deked.

Related entries & more 
stool pigeon (n.)
"police informer," 1859, American English; earlier "one who betrays the unwary (or is used to betray them)," 1821, originally a decoy bird (1812); said to be from decoys being fastened to stools to lure other pigeons. But perhaps related to stall "decoy bird" (c. 1500), especially "a pigeon used to entice a hawk into the net" (see stall (n.2)). Also see pigeon.
Related entries & more 
stall (n.2)

"pretense or evasive story to avoid doing something," 1812, from earlier sense "thief's assistant" (1590s, also staller), from a variant of stale "bird used as a decoy to lure other birds" (mid-15c.), from Anglo-French estale "decoy, pigeon used to lure a hawk" (13c., compare stool pigeon), literally "standstill," from Old French estal "place, stand, stall," from Frankish *stal- "position," ultimately from Germanic and cognate with Old English steall (see stall (n.1)). Compare Old English stælhran "decoy reindeer," German stellvogel "decoy bird." Figurative sense of "deception, means of allurement" is first recorded 1520s. Also see stall (v.2).

The stallers up are gratified with such part of the gains acquired as the liberality of the knuckling gentlemen may prompt them to bestow. [J.H. Vaux, "Flash Dictionary," 1812]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
lure (v.)
late 14c., "attract (a hawk) by casting a lure or decoy," also of persons, "to allure, entice, tempt," from lure (n.). Related: Lured; luring; lurement.
Related entries & more 
stall (v.2)
1590s, "distract a victim and thus screen a pickpocket from observation," from stall (n.2) "decoy." Meaning "to prevaricate, be evasive, play for time" is attested from 1903. Related: Stalled; stalling. Compare old slang stalling ken "house for receiving stolen goods" (1560s).
Related entries & more 
shill (n.)
"one who acts as a decoy for a gambler, auctioneer, etc.," 1916, probably originally circus or carnival argot, probably a shortened form of shillaber (1913) with the same meaning, origin unknown. The verb is attested from 1914. Related: Shilled; shilling.
Related entries & more 
toll (v.)
"to sound with slow single strokes" (intransitive), mid-15c., probably a special use of tollen "to draw, lure," early 13c. variant of Old English -tyllan in betyllan "to lure, decoy," and fortyllan "draw away, seduce," of obscure origin. The notion is perhaps of "luring" people to church with the sound of the bells, or of "drawing" on the bell rope. Transitive sense from late 15c. Related: Tolled; tolling. The noun meaning "a stroke of a bell" is from mid-15c.
Related entries & more