Definition of smoke screen in US English:

smoke screen

(also smokescreen)


  • 1A cloud of smoke created to conceal military operations.

    • ‘Desultory firing continued for two days amid fog, smokescreens, and increasing confusion, before the operation was eventually abandoned.’
    • ‘We use them [white phosphorus munitions] primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.’
    • ‘They thought that it was a smokescreen to disguise the movement forwards of German troops.’
    • ‘Wing Commander Frank Brock, a director of the company, used his background and passion for explosives and incendiaries to develop a smokescreen to conceal battleships at sea.’
    1. 1.1 A ruse designed to disguise someone's real intentions or activities.
      ‘he tried to create a smokescreen by quibbling about the statistics’
      • ‘It's just hard to sort out the real issues from the smokescreens as the rhetoric heats up this election year.’
      • ‘I do find, because I work alongside lots of other artists and producers, that pretense could be a smokescreen for insecurity.’
      • ‘More likely, it's another smokescreen designed to increase the public's general paranoia and portray the Department of Homeland Security as anything but incompetent.’
      • ‘Jimmy reckons that the Charlie denials are a smokescreen - distracting from the actual real rumour.’
      • ‘We are now left to wonder whether the publicly-advertised trials of GM crops were only a smokescreen to divert attention away from the real, clandestine experiments.’
      • ‘Sieuraj knocked Government's push for the passage of the police reform bills which he described as public relations tactics and a smokescreen.’
      • ‘Hague last night insisted that he would not be silenced by accusations of racism, which he said were designed as a smokescreen to hide Labour's problems over asylum.’
      • ‘According to the site, the old adage ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ is merely a smokescreen - felines are the real Martians.’
      • ‘Not playing bilateral cricket is a smokescreen used to evade the real issues.’
      • ‘I respond by cutting through the smokescreen and getting to the real facts, which they are hiding from you.’
      • ‘There's no attempt to cloud its intentions behind a smokescreen of law enforcement or national security - although the Secure PC is an advance on current standards.’
      • ‘It's not even clear the Cheney administration ever had any serious intention of promoting those values except as a smokescreen for the exercise of American power.’
      • ‘Behind a smokescreen of good intentions, the project continues.’
      • ‘It's all a smokescreen, a diversionary tactic to take the focus off of certain questions those who failed this country that day don't want aired.’
      • ‘Why don't you spend your valuable time actually answering Blair's accusation, or is this a nice little smokescreen to disguise the fact that you haven't got a leg to stand on?’
      • ‘These are used as a smokescreen to distract us from the real issues.’
      • ‘All of it in the end is an elaborate smokescreen to prevent us seeing the real issue: which is not a matter of trust but of judgment.’
      • ‘Gardai claim that a proposed marriage between a Corkman and a Romanian girl charged in a credit card scam is only a smokescreen to obtain a residency permit.’
      • ‘Many on the left see moral arguments as a smokescreen over the real conflict - the struggle over who gets what.’
      • ‘Many people in York suspect the vagueness the company expresses about its intentions could be a smokescreen.’
      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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smoke screen