de·​coy | \ ˈdē-ˌkȯi How to pronounce decoy (audio) , di-ˈkȯi How to pronounce decoy (audio) \

Definition of decoy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 hunting : a pond into which wildfowl are lured for capture
2 : someone or something used to lure or lead another into a trap the commander of that sub … took us to be a decoy— H. A. Chippendale especially, hunting : an artificial bird used to attract live birds within shot
3 : someone or something used to draw attention away from another had a decoy distract the guard


de·​coy | \ di-ˈkȯi How to pronounce decoy (audio) , ˈdē-ˌkȯi How to pronounce decoy (audio) \
decoyed; decoying; decoys

Definition of decoy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to lure by or as if by a decoy : entice decoying ducks to a pond The undercover cop decoyed the fugitive into a trap.

Synonyms for decoy

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for decoy


lure, entice, inveigle, decoy, tempt, seduce mean to lead astray from one's true course. lure implies a drawing into danger, evil, or difficulty through attracting and deceiving. lured naive investors with get-rich-quick schemes entice suggests drawing by artful or adroit means. advertising designed to entice new customers inveigle implies enticing by cajoling or flattering. fund-raisers inveigling wealthy alumni decoy implies a luring into entrapment by artifice. attempting to decoy the enemy into an ambush tempt implies the presenting of an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of conscience or better judgment. tempted by the offer of money seduce implies a leading astray by persuasion or false promises. seduced by assurances of assistance

Examples of decoy in a Sentence

Noun He had a decoy distract the guard while he jumped over the fence. we set the decoy afloat in the marsh and from the blind waited for the ducks to arrive Verb tacky souvenir shops to which first-time tourists had been decoyed into spending their hard-earned money
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Leary also had an 11-yard touchdown catch against Arkansas and was on the field for the game-winning play at Auburn as a decoy sprinting to the other side of the formation as Bryce Young threw to John Metchie on the left side of the play. Michael Casagrande |, al, 14 Jan. 2022 The presence of a decoy, that is a similar but somewhat less attractive alternative, will encourage people to choose the similar but more attractive alternative rather than the dissimilar, but economically better, choice. Matthew Erskine, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Fredrik tries to get brokers to his Upper Bel Air property, but faces a big obstacle called Los Angeles traffic; James and David make a decoy to get a sale; Altman negotiates against his own brother. Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2021 The decoy was Celeste Hilton, 34, a Ped Patrol volunteer and stay-at-home mother of four. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 16 Sep. 2021 Bowling, 26, first contacted the decoy in early April through AdChat, a messaging platform, according to police. Wilson Wong, NBC News, 7 May 2021 With that in mind, the Gargantos mention might be a decoy for Shuma Gorath. Chris Smith, BGR, 2 Dec. 2021 Brooklyn Nets regarding his role and wanting to see the football, not just be a decoy. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 5 Nov. 2021 There are big decoy spreads to set, often in muddy fields. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Beckham’s biggest contributions in Sunday’s loss came when the football wasn’t coming his way, working as a run blocker and decoy on many of his 58 snaps. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 17 Oct. 2021 As previously reported by Forbes, the U.S Navy is looking at ultra-short laser pulses which create glowing plasma in mid-air to decoy missiles away from aircraft. David Hambling, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Pilkington says that the military may test new spoofing or decoy techniques on unsuspecting pilots. David Hambling, Forbes, 25 June 2021 As part of the effort, GA-ASI integrated the Brite Cloud decoy with the Reaper. David Hambling, Forbes, 26 May 2021 The Whisperers catch on to the music decoy and destroy the sound system, forcing the survivors to kill the Whisperers one by one — the finale to the war season 10 was building up to. Ashley Chervinski,, 28 Feb. 2021 The best way to kill these birds cleanly is to decoy them close and shoot them in the head. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 20 Jan. 2021 The most important aspect of decoying ducks and geese is location, says Zink. Joe Arterburn, Outdoor Life, 13 Dec. 2019 For us regular wingshots, the .410 is best limited to woodcock, rails, decoying doves, and squirrels under ideal conditions all at ranges of about 25 yards. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decoy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decoy


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1648, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decoy

Noun and Verb

probably from Dutch de kooi, literally, the cage

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decoy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for decoy



English Language Learners Definition of decoy

: a wooden or plastic bird (such as a duck) that is used by hunters to attract live birds
: a person or thing that attracts people's attention so they will not notice someone or something else


de·​coy | \ di-ˈkȯi How to pronounce decoy (audio) , ˈdē-ˌkȯi \

Kids Definition of decoy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing (as an artificial bird) used to lead or lure into a trap or snare


decoyed; decoying

Kids Definition of decoy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lure by or as if by a decoy Hunters decoyed the ducks to the pond.

More from Merriam-Webster on decoy

Nglish: Translation of decoy for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about decoy


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