Definition of subterfuge in English:



mass noun
  • Deceit used in order to achieve one's goal.

    ‘he had to use subterfuge and bluff on many occasions’
    count noun ‘I hated all the subterfuges, I hated lying to you’
    • ‘Fighting subterfuge with subterfuge did not appeal to me.’
    • ‘The debate itself was a case study in the misinformation, obstinancy, subterfuge, rancour and fear that has characterised the fraught process.’
    • ‘To understand those tactics - which included subterfuge to get into pirates' premises - we need to go back to the 1902 law and ask why it was such a failure.’
    • ‘Of course if the Government simply waits for a few months, and then tries to reintroduce the RIP Act revisions, the withdrawal will be seen as subterfuge.’
    • ‘The fact that the page already blocked such potential subterfuge brought no comment, nor did the suggestion that the administrators simply exclude the votes from addresses they found suspicious in origin.’
    • ‘Fuzzyheaded thinking suggesting that it is possible to manipulate the Northern state by subterfuge should also be discarded since it is not possible to transform an existing state apparatus.’
    • ‘There's plenty of action, intrigue, and subterfuge in exotic locales around the world with a compelling variety of weapons and gadgets and a motley cast of nefarious villains to contend with.’
    • ‘They both seem eager to give the impression they don't require any tricks or subterfuge to advance.’
    • ‘But what's possibly the most damning aspect of this is the level of dishonesty, subterfuge and cover-up.’
    • ‘The first group make a living by pretence; the second are masters of subterfuge for whom truth, in the form of exposure, can be deadly.’
    • ‘They became haughty and arrogant, and began to love the art of subterfuge and deception, as well as politics and law.’
    • ‘But, just in case you get the idea that all was pretence and subterfuge, I feel I should let you know just how the mother of a friend of mine described the communist years.’
    • ‘Jonson's plays challenged the audience to examine the impact of a society governed by deceit and subterfuge.’
    • ‘Using guerrilla tactics and subterfuge, Alfred beat the Vikings at their own game.’
    • ‘But subterfuge will only contribute to an ecclesial culture of hypocrisy.’
    • ‘We better tell him the truth, and all of it, without any subterfuge or deception.’
    • ‘This is unskillful because it requires subterfuge and deceit, it means that solemn promises made at the time of marriage are broken, and it amounts to a betrayal of trust.’
    • ‘This is a gang whose members are masters of subterfuge and sleight of hand, and they play for big money, jewels, banks and other high-security projects.’
    • ‘But Yudhishtira had little talent for subterfuge and I could only advise him to wrap a cloak around his head and shoulders and show himself in public as little as possible.’
    • ‘A person like myself whose sole goal is good government is vulnerable to subterfuge and concerted efforts by a disloyal colleague like Dan to remove me from the Parliament.’
    trickery, intrigue, deviousness, evasion, deceit, deception, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, guile, cunning, craft, craftiness, slyness, chicanery, bluff, pretence, fraud, fraudulence, sophistry, sharp practice
    trick, hoax, ruse, wile, ploy, stratagem, artifice, dodge, bluff, manoeuvre, machination, pretext, pretence, expedient, tactic, intrigue, scheme, deception, fraud, masquerade, blind, smokescreen, sleight, stunt, game
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Late 16th century: from French, or from late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere ‘escape secretly’, from subter- ‘beneath’ + fugere ‘flee’.