(3 syl.). Any low neighbourhood frequented by thieves and
vagabonds. A person fleeced or liable to be fleeced is a pigeon, but
those who prey upon these “gulls” are called rooks.
“The demolition of rookeries has not proved an efficient remedy for
overcrowding.” —A. Egmont Hake: Free Trade in Capital, chap.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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