A person who's fooled into doing all the hard or dirty work for someone else is a stooge. If you're the butt of someone's mean jokes, you're also a stooge.

A slapstick comedian's sidekick — the one who gets a pie in his face or is hit in the head with a board — is a stooge. Now you know how the Three Stooges got their name! The word started out meaning "actor who assists a comedian," possibly derived from student, but it has evolved to be fairly derogatory. In crime, a stooge works for the mastermind: "She'll be arrested for selling the candy he stole, but she's just a stooge."

Definitions of stooge
  1. noun
    a victim of ridicule or pranks
    synonyms: butt, goat, laughingstock
    see moresee less
    April fool
    the butt of a prank played on April 1st
    type of:
    dupe, victim
    a person who is tricked or swindled
  2. noun
    a person of unquestioning obedience
    synonyms: flunkey, flunky, yes-man
    see moresee less
    someone who is easily taken advantage of
    type of:
    a person who accepts the leadership of another
  3. verb
    act as the stooge
    “His role was to stooge for the popular comedian”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    act, play, playact, roleplay
    perform on a stage or theater
  4. verb
    act as a stooge, in a compliant or subordinate manner
    “He stooged for the flamboyant Senator”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    act, behave, do
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
  5. verb
    cruise in slow or routine flights
    see moresee less
    type of:
    travel at a moderate speed
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week