Definition of smoke screen in English:

smoke screen

(also smokescreen)


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

    • ‘They thought that it was a smokescreen to disguise the movement forwards of German troops.’
    • ‘Desultory firing continued for two days amid fog, smokescreens, and increasing confusion, before the operation was eventually abandoned.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We use them [white phosphorus munitions] primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.’
    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’
      • ‘Many people in York suspect the vagueness the company expresses about its intentions could be a smokescreen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These are used as a smokescreen to distract us from the real issues.’
      • ‘Many on the left see moral arguments as a smokescreen over the real conflict - the struggle over who gets what.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I respond by cutting through the smokescreen and getting to the real facts, which they are hiding from you.’
      • ‘Not playing bilateral cricket is a smokescreen used to evade the real issues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘According to the site, the old adage ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ is merely a smokescreen - felines are the real Martians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I do find, because I work alongside lots of other artists and producers, that pretense could be a smokescreen for insecurity.’
      • ‘Sieuraj knocked Government's push for the passage of the police reform bills which he described as public relations tactics and a smokescreen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Behind a smokescreen of good intentions, the project continues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jimmy reckons that the Charlie denials are a smokescreen - distracting from the actual real rumour.’
      • ‘It's just hard to sort out the real issues from the smokescreens as the rhetoric heats up this election year.’
      • ‘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.’
      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