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Stale, subst. 1) a decoy, a bait: “the trumpery in my house, go bring it hither, for s. to catch these thieves,” Tp. IV, 187. “to cast thy wandering eyes on every s.” Shr. III, 1, 90. Explained by some in this sense in Err. II, 1, 101 and H6C III, 3, 260.
2) a laughing-stock, a dupe: “but, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale and feeds from home; poor I am but his s.” Err. II, 1, 101 (perhaps with a quibble: he is my dear, but I his s., i. e. one of whom he is weary). “to make a s. of me amongst these mates,” Shr. I, 1, 58 (perhaps a quibbling allusion to the expression stalemate at chess). “had he none else to make a s. but me?” H6C III, 3, 260. “was there none else in Rome to make a s., but Saturnine?” Tit. I, 304.
3) that which has become vapid und tasteless, or is worn out by use (Err. II, 1, 101?); hence almost equivalent to a prostitute: “marrying the renowned Claudio to a contaminated s.” Ado II, 2, 26. “to link my dear friend to a common s.” IV, 1, 66.
4) the urine of horses: “thou didst drink the s. of horses,” Ant. I, 4, 62. The host calls Dr. Caius bully s. in Wiv. II, 3, 30; cf. Castalion King Urinal, v. Wiv. II, 3, 30
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