Definition of decoy in English:


Line breaks: decoy


Pronunciation: /ˈdiːkɔɪ
, dɪˈkɔɪ
1A bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to attract other birds or mammals: [as modifier]: a decoy duck
More example sentences
  • 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 someone into a trap: we need a decoy to distract their attention
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.
2A pond from which narrow netted channels lead, into which wild duck 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: /dɪˈkɔɪ
, ˈdiːkɔɪ
[with object and adverbial of direction] Back to top  
Lure or entice (a person or animal) away from their intended course, typically into a trap: they would try to decoy the enemy towards 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, induce, inveigle, ensnare;
tempt, seduce;
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.

Definition of decoy in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day deictic
Pronunciation: ˈdeɪktɪk
denoting a word whose meaning depends on context...