- a mass of straw formed to resemble a man, as for a doll or scarecrow.
- a person whose importance or function is only nominal, as to cover another's activities; front.
- 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
Examples from the Web for straw man
Contemporary Examples of straw man
He then dismissed both of his own straw-man questions as “unfair,” which they are, before signing out of our conversation.Mayor Bloomberg’s Response to Sandy Leaves Many New Yorkers Out in the Cold
November 5, 2012
Much of the opposition to allowing underage girls to buy the pill over the counter amounts to straw-man arguments.Michael Tomasky: A Progressive Defense of the White House on Plan B
December 9, 2011
Historical Examples of straw man
Being condemned to death, the straw-man is led through the village, shot, and burned upon a pyre.
Every boy brought a handful of nosegays and fastened them to the straw-man, who was thus enveloped in flowers.
Sometimes a stuffed recamúchi (cacomistle, bassariscus) is used either in the place of a straw-man or in addition to it.Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2)
- a figure of a man made from straw
- another term for man of straw
Word Origin and History for straw man
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.”