ˈrüs How to pronounce ruse (audio)
: a wily subterfuge
Choose the Right Synonym for ruse

trick, ruse, stratagem, maneuver, artifice, wile, feint mean an indirect means to gain an end.

trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end.

the tricks of the trade

ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression.

the ruses of smugglers

stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.

the stratagem-filled game

maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty.

last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy

artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention.

the clever artifices of the stage

wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements.

used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself

feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent.

a feint toward the enemy's left flank

Examples of ruse in a Sentence

His act was just a clever ruse to get me to go out with him.
Recent Examples on the Web In Moscow, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described the claims about a new Russian military capability as a ruse intended to make the U.S. Congress support aid for Ukraine. Aamer Madhani, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 But after her death, her parents realized her application for a passport was only a ruse to receive a package by mail—the suicide kit sent by Law. Samira Asma-Sadeque, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, the forces fueling and making millions of dollars off of Milli Vanilli’s ruse got off scot-free, namely Farian, the supervillain-level mastermind behind it all. Ineye Komonibo,, 27 Oct. 2023 Enlarge Getty Images Scammers are stepping up their game by sending couriers to the homes of elderly people and others as part of a ruse intended to rob them of their life savings, the FBI said in an advisory Monday. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 29 Jan. 2024 Its high-stress drama of elaborate ruses and desperate expedients blends with a multilevel view of French politics, from street level to national bureaucracy. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2024 There’s a reason society has, for generations, created an elaborate ruse to trick children into writing wish lists for Christmas. Karim Doumar, Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2023 This tactic is a calculated ruse to divert attention from significant financial discrepancies lurking within the budget. Frank Ricci, National Review, 20 Jan. 2024 The government later learned this was all a ruse on Worrell's part. Robert Legare, CBS News, 4 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ruse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Old French, roundabout path taken by fleeing game, trickery, from reuser

First Known Use

1581, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ruse was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near ruse

Cite this Entry

“Ruse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ˈrüs How to pronounce ruse (audio)
: a clever way to fool someone : trick

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ru·​se ˈrü-(ˌ)sā How to pronounce Ruse (audio)
variants or Turkish Ruschuk
city in northeastern Bulgaria on the Danube River south of Bucharest population 148,500
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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