decoy

Definitions

General English

  • noun an object or a person that is placed to attract and trap something
  • verb to attract and trap something or someone.

Military

  • noun something which is used to draw the enemy force into an ambush or to make it reveal its location
  • noun something which draws a guided missile away from its intended target (e.g. chaff or flares)
  • verb to present the enemy force with a target in order to draw it into an ambush or to make it reveal its location

Origin & History of “decoy”

Dutch kooi means ‘cage’ (it comes from Latin cavea ‘cage’, source of English cage). The term came to be applied specifically to a pond which had been surrounded with nets into which wildfowl were lured for capture. English took it over, but brought with it the Dutch definite article de, so that Dutch de kooi ‘the decoy’ became English decoy.
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