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straw man

noun
1.
a mass of straw formed to resemble a man, as for a doll or scarecrow.
2.
a person whose importance or function is only nominal, as to cover another's activities; front.
3.
a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument:
The issue she railed about was no more than a straw man.
Origin of straw man
1585-1595
1585-95
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for strawman
Historical Examples
  • Then I learned that my indefinite gentleman had been a partner of the forger's brother, and that his name was strawman.

    Creditors; Pariah August Strindberg
  • We'll drag out Mr. strawman, and lynch him to the big gate before they get along.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for strawman

straw man

noun (mainly US)
1.
a figure of a man made from straw
2.
another term for man of straw
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
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Word Origin and History for strawman

straw man

n.

1590s, "doll or scarecrow made of bound straw," from straw (n.) + man (n.). Figuratively, in debates, by 1896. Man of straw "imaginary opponent" is recorded from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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strawman in Culture

straw man definition


A made-up version of an opponent's argument that can easily be defeated. To accuse people of attacking a straw man is to suggest that they are avoiding worthier opponents and more valid criticisms of their own position: “His speech had emotional appeal, but it wasn't really convincing because he attacked a straw man rather than addressing the real issues.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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strawman in Technology


The first of the series of DoD requirements that led to Ada (Woodenman, Tinman, Ironman, Steelman). Strawman was produced by the HOLWG in Apr 1975.
(1995-01-30)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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