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smoke screen

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noun
  1. a mass of dense smoke produced to conceal an area, vessel, or plane from the enemy.
  2. something intended to disguise, conceal, or deceive; camouflage.

Origin of smoke screen

First recorded in 1910–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for smoke-screen

Historical Examples

  • In the rifts of the smoke-screen could be discerned the tripod masts, enormous top-hamper and up-trained guns of the monitors.

    The Thick of the Fray at Zeebrugge

    Percy F. Westerman

  • In the center of the smoke-screen Gregory sat at a small table, hammering away at a typewriter.

    El Diablo

    Brayton Norton

  • It "boomed" as it struck the water and threw out the smoke-screen in most approved navy fashion.

    Adventures in Swaziland

    Owen Rowe O'Neil


British Dictionary definitions for smoke-screen

smoke screen

noun
  1. military a cloud of smoke produced by artificial means to obscure movements or positions
  2. something said or done in order to hide the truth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for smoke-screen

n.

1915, as a form of military camouflage, from smoke (n.1) + screen (n.); 1926 in the figurative sense. The association of smoke with "deception, deliberate obscurity" dates back to at least 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper