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a trick


ruse = Trick, Kniff, Finte, List (trickreicher Plan) —— to employ a ruse = eine List anwenden



“Sunak RUSE aims to outmanoeuvre Truss over China

Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor – The Guardian (25 July 2022)

“In fact, that was a RUSE to make it seem as if the attack was a (pretence), intended merely to pin down Russian forces and prevent them from redeploying to defend against the supposed main counter-offensive further south, in Kherson region.”

Europe Editorial in The Economist – ‘A counter-offensive gains momentum’ (11 September 2022)

Did you


- an action intended to deceive someone; a trick

- a deceptive maneuver (especially to avoid capture)

- a wily subterfuge

Oxford Languages / Vocabulary dot com / Merriam-Webster


The word “ruse” is of early 15th century origin meaning “the dodging movements of a hunted animal” (a sense now obsolete); in the 1620s the meaning evolved to “a trick, a stratagem, an artifice”, from 14th century Old French ruse, reuse “diversion, switch in flight; trick, jest”.


A farmer in New York state found something interesting on his farm in 1869. It appeared to be the fossilised remains of a giant human being measuring over three metres with 53-centimetre feet. Word of the discovery spread quickly. The religious saw this as a sign that the Bible had been accurate in its depiction of human giants and people flocked to the farm paying 50-cents to get a look at the “Goliath”.

Experts became suspicious however, and the “fossil” was discovered to be a carved slab of gypsum, having been sculpted the previous year by a distant relative of the farmer. The two men carried out the RUSE to cash in on the publicity generated by the discovery.

As a side-note, circus magnate P.T. Barnum smelled a good opportunity and offered to rent the giant to take on the road with his circus, but the farmer wouldn’t agree. Barnum then made another fake (a fake of the fake) and charged people to see that fake. Interestingly, Barnum’s fake fake drew more visitors than the real fake. The original “Goliath” fake can now be seen in the Cooperstown Museum in Cooperstown, New York… for a fee!


- a trick or an action intended to deceive

allurement, ambush, artfulness, artifice, bait, bait and switch, bamboozlement, beguilement, bill of goods, bit of sharp practice, booby trap, boondoggle, bread and circuses, bread and games, camouflage, charlatanry, cheat, cheating, chicane, chicanery, come-on, complot, con, con(fidence) game (trick), connivance, cover, cover-up, craftiness, crafty designs, crooked deal, cunning plan, curve ball, deceit, deceitfulness, deception, deceptiveness, decoy, deviousness, diddle, diddling, dirty deeds (pool, trick, dirty tricks, dirty work, disguise, dishonesty, disloyalty, display, disposition, dissembling, dissimulation, distortion, distraction, distractor, disturbance, diversion, diversionary tactic, dodge, double-cross(ing), double-dealing, dupe, dupery, duping, duplicity, ensnarement, entanglement, entrapment, extortion, fabrication, facade, fake, fakery, faking, false appearance, false charge (clue, colours, display, face, front, show, pretense, trail), falsehood, falseness, false, false  falsification, falsity, fastie, fast one, fast shuffle, façade, feigning, feint, fiction, fiddle, fit-up, fix, flam, flanker, flimflam, fool’s errand, forgery, foul play, four-flusher, fradulent artifice (scheme), frame-up, fraud, fraudulence, front, funny business, gambit, gamesmanship, guile, guise, hanky-panky, hidden danger, hoax, hoaxing, hocus-pocus, hokum, hoky-poky, honeytrap, hoodwinking, hook, hookup, horseplay, hustle, illegal enterprise (scheme), impersonation, imposture, insincerity, intrigue, inveiglement, irresistible bait, jiggery-pokery, knavery, knock-off, leg-pull, legerdemain, lie, lies, likeness, line, line of action, little game, lookalike, loophole, loss-leader, lure, lying, machination(s), machinations, manipulation, mare’s nest, mask, masking, masquerade, mendacity, mere show, mimicry, misleading clue (talk, remark), misrepresentation, mock attack, monkey business, monkeyshine(s), monkeyshines, morass, mousetrap, oldest trick in the book, one-upmanship, overcharging, palace intrigue, perfidy, phoneyness, play-acting, plot, ploy, pose, posing, posture, posturing, pretence (UK), pretense (US), pretension, pretentiousness, pretext, propaganda, publicity device, put-on, put-up job, quackery, racket, red herring, rip-off, roguery, rug pull, run around, scam, scheme, secret, secret plan (scheme, understanding), seducement, semblance, set-up, set of tactics, shady deal, sham, sharp practice, shell game, shenanigan(s), siren song, skul(l)duggery, sleight, sleight of hand, slyness, smoke, smoke and mirrors, smokescreen, snake oil, snare, snow, snow job, song and dance, sophistry, spoof, sting, subterfuge, subversion, sucker game, sweetener, sweet talk, swindle, swindling, swizz, swizzle, take-in, talk, tanglement, trap, treacherousness, treachery, trick, trickery, tricks, Trojan horse, trumped-up charge, underhandedness, veil, veneer, villainy, ways and means, whitewash, wire-pulling, wooden nickel

SMUGGLE OWAD into today’s conversation say something like:

“These days it’s important to teach children how to recognise RUSES on the internet and social media.”

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Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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