Definition of decoy in English:


See synonyms for decoy

Translate decoy into Spanish


  • 1A bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to attract other birds or mammals.

    as modifier ‘a decoy duck’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Their tendency to roost in tight flocks and be easily attracted to decoys may have made them vulnerable to market hunters, who had a significant impact on the population.’
    • ‘The decoy bird must be provided with adequate food, water, shelter and a perch for the entire period during which it is used.’
    • ‘The commercial, or ‘market,’ hunters at that time used large rigs of finely crafted decoys to attract a smaller and more wary pool of waterfowl.’
    • ‘A major percentage of turkey hunters today hunt with decoys, and it's big business.’
    • ‘He began making bird decoys when he was thirteen in Birds Landing, California.’
    • ‘A friend and top-notch guide named Kim Martin used to repaint his duck decoys before each season.’
    • ‘More than 150 craftspeople, including makers of violins, baskets, and duck decoys, travel from all over Britain to take part in the event.’
    • ‘Who knew that duck decoys could go for such astronomical prices?’
    • ‘The site is a great resource for waterfowlers, offering expert guidance on critical issues like duck calling, decoys, and retrievers.’
    • ‘Using the foot peg, the base is driven into the mud in a shallow area, such that the duck decoy flies conspicuously above the water.’
    • ‘We collected scaup with a shotgun by sneaking or spotlighting at night to avoid potential collection biases associated with using decoys or baiting.’
    • ‘Successful seabird colonies were established based on this concept, and by using decoys and song playbacks, other potential areas could become attractive after a disturbance, natural or otherwise.’
    • ‘For example, the waterfowler laboring across a muddy marsh and toting a sack of decoys has no business with a loaded gun in his hand or over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Volunteers are planning to make decoys and place them on the island to attract roseate terns in time for next year's nesting season.’
    • ‘Eventually, all four gobblers were standing in a small space - the only place I couldn't see - about 20 yards from the hen decoy.’
    • ‘The birds never alarmed while the decoy was placed or removed, but did so during nest visits, so we believe that disturbance due to the observer was negligible.’
    • ‘Nothing sets up a capsize like a hunter, jacket pockets full of shotgun shells, leaning over the edge of a low-freeboard duck boat laying out decoys with his dog eagerly leaning next to him.’
    1. 1.1A person or thing used to mislead or lure an animal or person into a trap.
      ‘we need a decoy to distract their attention’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The captain, with the help of his men, came up with a plan to set off a decoy to lure the fighters away from us in hopes that we could break free.’
      • ‘Harder to discuss, the memory of young men sent out as decoys to trick the troops into stopping.’
      • ‘They realize it is a she-wolf who is acting as a decoy to lure the dogs away from camp so that they can be eaten by the wolf pack.’
      • ‘Deception and decoys, digging in and waiting for the storm to pass - what every Yugoslav commander learnt to do when Tito's Yugoslavia feared a Soviet attack.’
      • ‘He would send out decoys who would lure the unwary into crap games and then he would swoop down and grab them.’
      • ‘They fought back by destroying their own bases and and any who tried to escape the decoys.’
      • ‘That was the plan, and it relied on the enemy being distracted by their decoys.’
      • ‘The con happened a week after a nine-year-old boy was used as a decoy in three distraction burglaries in Kendal and Windermere, during which wallets and purses were stolen.’
      • ‘And is that $400 bribe a decoy / distraction to make us look the other way?’
      • ‘Additionally, intelligence sources suspected them of setting off beacons as tactical deception decoys.’
      • ‘When threatened, the octopus can squirt out ink as a decoy to distract its predator and allowing the octopus to escape.’
      • ‘Since 1972, decoy traps baited with seeds and live cowbirds have been set out across the warbler's breeding grounds.’
      lure, bait, red herring
      View synonyms
  • 2A pond from which narrow netted channels lead, into which wild ducks may be enticed for capture.

    • ‘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.’



/ˈdēˌkoi/ /ˈdiˌkɔɪ/


with object and adverbial of direction
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Lieutenant and 80 soldiers, much against orders, pursued the attackers and were wiped out when they were decoyed into an ambush of 1,000 waiting warriors.’
    • ‘As his fleet approached the island of Las Aves, which is a hundred miles off the coast of Venezuela, they were decoyed onto the island's reef by a small force of three Dutch ships.’
    • ‘Each flare decoyed one missile perfectly, and then she was turning back towards him.’
    • ‘What they'll try to do is either decoy us or create a diversion, something to get us to respond, to move out of the area where they want to go.’
    • ‘They were not so much innocent victims decoyed to ‘a fate worse than death’, as professionals seeking the best market opportunities.’
    • ‘The other major advance will include systems designed to decoy anti-tank missiles.’
    • ‘Pioneered in the air war against the country's neighbour, these drones were designed to decoy air defences and save the lives of pilots.’
    • ‘I was told last night that this storyboarded ending was only ever used to decoy the studio away from the real ending, which is the one they shot.’
    • ‘We were overhead in a matter of minutes and, though we had no bullets or rockets, we flew a daisy chain over the area to decoy the enemy fire.’
    • ‘The decoys are controlled over a serial data link to decoy passive and active homing torpedoes.’
    • ‘Kevin made a sharp bank left and popped flares to decoy any incoming missiles.’
    • ‘Don't be shy about running sideways to avoid or decoy the defensive pressure before passing.’
    lure, entice, induce, inveigle, ensnare
    View synonyms



/dəˈkoi/ /dəˈkɔɪ/


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