Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Deception used to achieve an end.
  • noun A deceptive stratagem or device.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That to which a person resorts for escape or concealment; a shift; an evasion; artifice employed to escape censure or the force of an argument.
  • noun Synonyms Shift, etc. (see evasion), excuse, trick, quirk, shuffle, pretense, pretext, mask, blind.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That to which one resorts for escape or concealment; an artifice employed to escape censure or the force of an argument, or to justify opinions or conduct; a shift; an evasion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable An indirect or deceptive device or stratagem; a blind. Refers especially to war and politics.
  • noun uncountable Deception; misrepresentation of the true nature of an activity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun something intended to misrepresent the true nature of an activity

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French suterfuge, from Late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere, to escape : subter, secretly, beneath; see upo in Indo-European roots + fugere, to flee.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Late 16th century. Directly or via French from late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugio ("I flee secretly"), from subter ("under") and fugio ("I flee").

Examples

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