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Pied Piper

The term Pied Piper comes from an old German legend, popularized by a poem written by the English poet Robert Browning in 1845. We will examine the meaning of the term Pied Piper, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A Pied Piper is someone who entices others to follow him, often through outrageous promises and personal charisma. The term is often used in politics. Pied Piper comes from the German legend that has existed at least since around 1300. In the story, the Pied Piper comes to a town that is plagued with rats. The Pied Piper promises to rid the town of the rats for a fee. He successfully lures the rats out of town with the music from his pipe, but the townsfolk refuse to pay his fee. As retribution, the piper then lures the children out of the town and into the mountains, and they are never heard from again. There are several theories as to the meaning of this story. Perhaps the Pied Piper is a reference to the Black Plague, or he may symbolize the Chilldren’s Crusade of 1212. The pied in Pied Piper refers to his dress, which was characterized as two-toned, black and red. Note that according to the Oxford English Dictionary, both words are capitalized in Pied Piper, as it is a proper name.

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Examples

A more honest assessment is to say that he is a Pied Piper to the courthouse, where he’ll leave the gullible followers with hefty legal bills. (The Kansas City Star)

Nieuwenhuizen is a Pied Piper figure, well able to mesmerise Mr into “seeing” and even inhabiting a house that isn’t there, while remaining darkly ambiguous about his own intentions. (The Independent)

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