smoke screen

noun

Definition of smoke screen

1 : a screen of smoke to hinder enemy observation of a military force, area, or activity
2 : something designed to obscure, confuse, or mislead

Examples of smoke screen in a Sentence

His campaign promises were just a smoke screen. The truth was hidden behind a smoke screen of lies.
Recent Examples on the Web The prosecution argued that Prince was using mental illness as a smoke screen to avoid consequences. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Harford jury finds Advanced Granite shooter Radee Prince criminally responsible for murders of 3 co-workers," 2 Nov. 2020 This degree of opacity in the marketplace creates a smoke screen behind which an economic situation can deteriorate significantly without broader market awareness. Tim Hwang, Harper's Magazine, "Ad Nauseam," 27 Oct. 2020 Looper, in effect, called the measure a smoke screen for equity. oregonlive, "Tualatin Valley Highway ‘not a safe place’ a key cog in Metro’s push for transportation measure," 10 Oct. 2020 According to Interesting Engineering, this 1923 film footage shows an airplane laying down a smoke screen in front of a U.S. Navy battleship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch: Airplane Makes Battleship Disappear With a Smoke Screen," 5 Oct. 2020 The plane laying the smoke screen and the plane filming the process also appear to be Martin MB-2s. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch: Airplane Makes Battleship Disappear With a Smoke Screen," 5 Oct. 2020 To this group, the aloofness of science is a smoke screen behind which the inevitable emotions and ideologies hide. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, "How Does Science Really Work?," 28 Sep. 2020 Critics say the agency is using dry conditions as a smoke screen to shrink horse populations in response to pressure from ranchers whose livestock compete with the horses for grazing land. Fox News, "Drought forces emergency measures for US West's wild horses," 23 July 2018 That being said, laser performance is degraded in cloudy and foggy weather and in smoke screens as the laser energy is deflected off microscopic water, ice, and other particles in the air. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Marines Want the Humvee’s Replacement To Fight Anything That Flies," 10 Apr. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of smoke screen

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about smoke screen

Time Traveler for smoke screen

Time Traveler

The first known use of smoke screen was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Statistics for smoke screen

Cite this Entry

“Smoke screen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smoke%20screen. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for smoke screen

smoke screen

noun

English Language Learners Definition of smoke screen

: something that you do or say to hide something or to take attention away from something
: a cloud of thick smoke that is used to hide ships, soldiers, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on smoke screen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smoke screen

Comments on smoke screen

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!