fig leaf

noun

Definition of fig leaf 

1 : the leaf of a fig tree

2 [ from the use by Adam and Eve of fig leaves to cover their nakedness after eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:7) ] : something that conceals or camouflages usually inadequately or dishonestly

Examples of fig leaf in a Sentence

Opponents claim that the humanitarian goals of the project are just a fig leaf, and that its real purpose is to make money.

Recent Examples on the Web

That response — discussed in detail within the Commerce Ministry and other agencies — would have led to lower tariffs on American goods in dollar terms, which could be seen as a fig leaf to the White House. Keith Bradsher, The Seattle Times, "China once looked tough on trade, but now its options are dwindling," 18 Sep. 2018 Common culprits behind this reaction include citrus fruits (limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruit), celery, carrots, wild parsnip, dill, and parsley, as well as fig and fig leaves. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Beware of Phytophotodermatitis, The Weird Sun Reaction That Could Definitely Ruin Your Summer," 18 Aug. 2018 And he's really kept Kim off-balance for the last year and a half through tough rhetoric and military exercises and then these random fig leaves. Fox News, "Samantha Bee goes after Ivanka Trump with vulgar slur," 1 June 2018 Similarly, Democrats are torn between denouncing the callousness of the GOP’s simultaneous upper-end tax-cut frenzy and assaults on CHIP, or laughing at the whole enterprise as a fig leaf barely covering naked fiscal malfeasance. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "After Blowing Up the Deficit, House Passes Mostly Phony Spending Cuts," 8 June 2018 This recipe originally called for enveloping the fish in fig leaves. Rochelle Bilow, Bon Appetit, "75 Summer Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Cook," 4 May 2018 Directly inspired by a Mediterranean summer, the perfume has notes of earthy fig leaves, the fruit itself, Sicilian bergamot, and daffodil for a green and floral scent. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "A Heartbreaking Scent of Staggering Beauty," 20 June 2018 But that fig leaf is going to be pretty hard to shake loose. Fox News, "Texas lieutenant governor on preventing school shootings," 19 May 2018 But to criminal-defense lawyers in New Orleans, all of that is a fig leaf: Most of the lawyers who represent inmates are badly overworked public defenders carrying 150 felony cases or so at a time. New York Times, "Calling Your Lawyer’s Cell From Jail? What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You.," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fig leaf.' 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 fig leaf

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for fig leaf

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for fig leaf

The first known use of fig leaf was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fig leaf

fig leaf

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fig leaf

: the leaf of a fig tree

: something that prevents embarrassment or criticism by covering or hiding something

More from Merriam-Webster on fig leaf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fig leaf

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