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View synonyms for straw man

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.



straw man

noun

  1. a figure of a man made from straw
  2. another term for man of straw


straw man

  1. 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.”


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Word History and Origins

Origin of straw man1

First recorded in 1585–95
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Example Sentences

He just needs to construct a straw man onto which he slaps that label and watch the politics fall into place.

It is, instead, a straw man that Rufo and his allies have constructed, leveraging anecdotes and incidents in a way that’s strikingly similar to the effort to prove that the 2020 election was somehow stolen.

Fauci also told Paul there’s no possibility the research in the paper Paul cited directly led to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but Paul correctly called this out as a straw man.

“Foreign buyers are a bit of a straw man because sometimes they’re blamed for the ups, and sometimes they’re blamed for the downs,” Walkup says.

From Fortune

Critics tend to rely on straw man arguments claiming Jeter wasn't the very best.

The problem is that the media apologists are battling a straw man.

But Scarborough said that it was a "straw man's argument" to pretend that all Republicans want European-style austerity.

Instead of paying the minor fine and moving on (that would be accepting the straw man,) they battle it out in court.

And all you have to do to collect is file the right paperwork—and in the meantime, refuse to acknowledge the straw man.

This brutal form is quite beneath the dignity of a wholesome straw man.

And what good is the straw man to you, or to himself, when the ditch keeps you from going any further?

We may have been fooled, and we may be chasing a straw man in a paper boat right at this minute, sir.

Sometimes a stuffed recamúchi (cacomistle, bassariscus) is used either in the place of a straw-man or in addition to it.

That would be putting up a straw man and knocking him down, which is profitless and unconvincing.

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More About Straw Man

What does straw man mean?

A straw man is a fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that’s intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one’s own argument seem stronger.

It’s commonly used in the phrase straw man argument, referring to an argument that uses a straw man. Straw man is sometimes spelled strawman.

A straw man argument is a kind of logical fallacy, which is an illogical or misleading argument. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

Because straw men are not based on reality, they are often considered deceitful or nonsensical, and the term implies a criticism of such methods. They are often associated with their use in political arguments or debates. For example, during a campaign, a politician may call for greater government protection for endangered wolves. If that politician’s opponent then accuses them of wanting to release wolves into elementary schools, that’s a straw man argument.

The literal meaning of straw man refers to the likeness of a person made out of straw (like a scarecrow).

Straw man can also be used to refer to a person who’s used to cover someone’s else’s activities when they may be illegal or unethical. For example, this sense of straw man can refer to someone who makes a straw purchase—a purchase of something, such as a gun, for a person who is restricted from buying it.

Example: The senator was criticized for using a straw man argument during the debate instead of addressing his opponent’s real position.

Where does straw man come from?

The first records of the term straw man come from the 1580s. It was used literally to refer to a human figure made out of straw. The use of straw man to refer to a form of argument is newer, although the exact origin is unknown.

The term is used as a metaphor, alluding to the fact that a person made of straw is obviously not real and is therefore an easy opponent due to being incapable of fighting back.

The goal of a straw man is to weaken an opponent’s actual argument and make your own look better in comparison. Of course, this strategy can fail if the audience realizes that you are attacking a straw man because you aren’t confident in your own position and wouldn’t hold up against the opposing argument.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to straw man?

  • straw men (plural)
  • strawman (alternate spelling)
  • straw-man (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for straw man?

What are some words that share a root or word element with straw man

What are some words that often get used in discussing straw man?

 

How is straw man used in real life?

The phrase straw man implies a criticism of such arguments. Straw man arguments are especially associated with political debates.

 

 

Try using straw man!

True or False?

A straw man is an accurate representation of an opposing argument that is logically disproved with researched facts and figures.

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straw in the windstraw mite