fall between two stools

stool

[stool]
noun
1.
a single seat on legs or a pedestal and without arms or a back.
2.
a short, low support on which to stand, step, kneel, or rest the feet while sitting.
3.
Horticulture. the stump, base, or root of a plant from which propagative organs are produced, as shoots for layering.
4.
the base of a plant that annually produces new stems or shoots.
5.
a cluster of shoots or stems springing up from such a base or from any root, or a single shoot or layer.
6.
a bird fastened to a pole or perch and used as a decoy.
7.
an artificial duck or other bird, usually made from wood, used as a decoy by hunters.
8.
a privy.
9.
the fecal matter evacuated at each movement of the bowels.
10.
the sill of a window. See diag. under double-hung.
11.
a bishop's seat considered as symbolic of his authority; see.
12.
the sacred chair of certain African chiefs, symbolic of their kingship.
verb (used without object)
13.
to put forth shoots from the base or root, as a plant; form a stool.
14.
Slang. to turn informer; serve as a stool pigeon.
Idioms
15.
fall between two stools, to fail, through hesitation or indecision, to select either of two alternatives.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English; Old English stōl; cognate with German Stuhl, Old Norse stōll, Gothic stols chair; all < Germanic *stō- (< Indo-European root of stand) + *-l- suffix; akin to OCS stolŭ throne

stoollike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stool (stuːl)
 
n
1.  a backless seat or footrest consisting of a small flat piece of wood, etc, resting on three or four legs, a pedestal, etc
2.  a rootstock or base of a plant, usually a woody plant, from which shoots, etc, are produced
3.  a cluster of shoots growing from such a base
4.  chiefly (US) a decoy used in hunting
5.  waste matter evacuated from the bowels
6.  a lavatory seat
7.  (in W Africa, esp Ghana) a chief's throne
8.  fall between two stools
 a.  to fail through vacillation between two alternatives
 b.  to be in an unsatisfactory situation through not belonging to either of two categories or groups
 
vb
9.  (of a plant) to send up shoots from the base of the stem, rootstock, etc
10.  to lure wildfowl with a decoy
 
[Old English stōl; related to Old Norse stōll, Gothic stōls, Old High German stuol chair, Greek stulos pillar]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

stool
O.E. stol "seat for one person," from P.Gmc. *stolaz (cf. O.Fris. stol, O.N. stoll, O.H.G. stuol, Ger. Stuhl "seat," Goth. stols "high seat, throne"), from PIE *sta-lo-, locative of base *sta- "to stand" (cf. Lith. pa-stolas "stand," O.C.S. stolu "stool;" see stet). Originally
used of thrones (cf. cynestol "royal seat, throne"); change of meaning began with adoption of chair from Fr., which relegated stool to small seats without arms or backs, then "privy" (1410) and thence to "bowel movement" (1533).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

stool (stōōl)
n.

  1. A discharging of the bowels.

  2. Evacuated fecal matter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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