decoyed; decoys; decoying

A decoy is a fake version of something used to play a trick or lead you into danger, like the cork duck decoys hunters put on the pond to make the real ducks think it's safe to stop by.

Decoy most often refers to bait used for trapping or killing an animal, but it can be any object or plan used to lead someone or something into trouble. Fisherman use worm decoys on their lures to catch fish, just like police use people as undercover decoys to catch criminals. While etymologists aren't positive, they suspect decoy comes from the Dutch kooi, which means “a cage.” So think of luring a mouse into a cage with a big slice of decoy cheese.

Definitions of decoy
  1. noun
    something used to lure fish or other animals into danger so they can be trapped or killed
    synonyms: bait, lure
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    bait consisting of chopped fish and fish oils that are dumped overboard to attract fish
    fish lure, fisherman's lure
    (angling) any bright artificial bait consisting of plastic or metal mounted with hooks and trimmed with feathers
    ground bait
    bait scattered on the water to attract fish
    stool pigeon
    a dummy pigeon used to decoy others
    fisherman's lure consisting of a fishhook decorated to look like an insect
    a fisherman's lure with one or more hooks that is jerked up and down in the water
    fisherman's lure; revolves when drawn through the water
    a fisherman's lure that is used in trolling
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  2. noun
    a beguiler who leads someone into danger (usually as part of a plot)
    synonyms: steerer
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    a decoy who lures customers into a gambling establishment (especially one with a fixed game)
    a decoy who acts as an enthusiastic customer in order to stimulate the participation of others
    type of:
    accomplice, confederate
    a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)
    beguiler, cheat, cheater, deceiver, slicker, trickster
    someone who leads you to believe something that is not true
  3. verb
    lure or entrap with or as if with a decoy
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    type of:
    entice, lure, tempt
    provoke someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises or persuasion
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘decoy'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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