smoke and mirrors

plural noun

Definition of smoke and mirrors

: something intended to disguise or draw attention away from an often embarrassing or unpleasant issue usually hyphenated when used attributively

Examples of smoke and mirrors in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The secret to the longevity of the British monarchy is a quite brilliant smoke and mirrors combination of evolution and stability. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "How Queen Elizabeth Will Pass the Torch to Prince Charles and the Rest of the Royal Family in 2019," 5 Jan. 2019 There are zero smoke and mirrors involved with your donation. Jesa Marie Calaor, Allure, "9 Beauty Products Supporting 2018's Breast Cancer Awareness Month (and How Much They're Donating)," 11 Oct. 2018 Somehow the smoke and mirrors of Jen's Facebook feed successfully fooled even those closest to her. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 1: Fear," 4 Dec. 2018 This all appears to be smoke and mirrors for the boring truth: that Middleton and Markle are your standard sisters-in-law. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Breaking Down All the Rumors About Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton's Royal 'Feud'," 27 Nov. 2018 One reason to believe it’s not totally smoke and mirrors is that the head of the battery division of Fisker Inc. was the cofounder of Sakti3, a battery company that’s spent the last decade working at developing solid-state batteries. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Electric cars could use another big battery breakthrough — this CEO says he’s got it," 16 Aug. 2018 And perhaps more chilling, the smoke and mirrors of a compelling digital narrative clouded our sense of civic responsibility. Lauren Smiley, Glamour, "Two White Moms. Six Black Kids. One Unthinkable Tragedy. A Look Inside the ‘Perfect’ Hart Family," 6 Sep. 2018 That's what the smoke and mirrors of television does to people. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Meet Bobby Feeno: Former NFL Star Arian Foster on His Rap Alter Ego and Kanye West's Tweets," 3 May 2018 Much of what was being touted turned out to be smoke and mirrors. Elizabeth Weise, azcentral, "Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former president Balwani charged with federal fraud," 15 June 2018

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

1979, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near smoke and mirrors




smoke and mirrors

smoke ball

smoke beetle

smoke black

Statistics for smoke and mirrors

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Time Traveler for smoke and mirrors

The first known use of smoke and mirrors was in 1979

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More Definitions for smoke and mirrors

smoke and mirrors


English Language Learners Definition of smoke and mirrors

chiefly US : something that seems good but is not real or effective and that is done especially to take attention away from something else that is embarrassing or unpleasant

Comments on smoke and mirrors

What made you want to look up smoke and mirrors? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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