Definition of decoy in English:


Syllabification: de·coy


Pronunciation: /ˈdēˌkoi
  • 1A bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to attract other birds or mammals: [as modifier]: a decoy duck
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    • Supporters counter that it is no more unfair than using bird calls and decoys to attract birds or using baited hooks to catch fish.
    • The net was being controlled by someone in a nearby hut who was able to pull the string to make the decoy attract other birds.
    • Brandon also had a room which meant we were only some 10 miles from Havre De Grace which is a delightful historic town which has many sites of interest including a Duck decoy museum!
  • 1.1A person or thing used to mislead or lure an animal or person into a trap.
    More example sentences
    • So, unless the unlikely happened and they split up, the dot he was heading towards was a decoy and possibly a trap.
    • That whole wing of the base was nothing but an elaborate decoy designed to trap invaders.
    • Your Majesty, though a large force has been assembled in the South, it is but a decoy, to lure us away from our target.
    lure, bait, red herring; enticement, inducement, temptation, attraction, carrot; snare, trap
  • 1.2
    More example sentences
    • The ship's torpedo decoy is the Nixie AN / SLQ25.
    • The towed torpedo decoy is the Sensytech AN / SLQ - 25 Nixie.
    • The ship is also equipped with the Nixie torpedo decoy, from Sensytech Inc of Newington, Virginia.
  • 2A pond from which narrow netted channels lead, into which wild ducks may be enticed for capture.
    More example sentences
    • An ancient decoy pond, originally created to lure wildfowl and deer for the abbot to hunt is being restored, as is the original wooden deer fence.


Pronunciation: /diˈkoi
[with object] Back to top  
  • Lure or entice (a person or animal) away from an intended course, typically into a trap: they would try to decoy the enemy toward the hidden group
    More example sentences
    • Most successful basketball plays involve only two or three players in any particular play with the remaining players maneuvering or decoying opponents away from the intended point of attack.
    • Equally lacking in some essential points are the various post-election party urgings which are aimed at decoying us into focusing on domestic issues.
    • The soldiers were decoyed to a border region while the Viet Cong mounted a major offensive in the urban areas.
    lure, entice, allure, tempt; entrap, snare, trap


mid 16th century (earlier as coy): from Dutch de kooi 'the decoy', from Middle Dutch de kouw 'the cage', from Latin cavea 'cage'. sense 2 of the noun is from the practice of using tamed ducks to lead wild ones along channels into captivity.

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