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cover story

a magazine article highlighted by an illustration on the cover.
a fabricated story used to conceal a true purpose; alibi:
No one believed the cover story released to the press.
Origin of cover story
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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cover story

noun phrase

  1. The biography and plausible account devised for a secret agent for concealment; cover (1940s+ Espionage)
  2. An alibi; a false narrative explanation: We agree on the cover story, that you haven't seen me for three weeks (1940s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with cover-story

cover story

A featured story in a magazine that concerns the illustration on the cover, as in The earthquake is this week's cover story for all the news magazines. [ Mid-1900s ]
A false story intended to mislead or deceive; also, an alibi. For example, Their cover story while investigating local repair services was that they had just bought the house and were having problems, or The suspect gave the police some cover story about being held up. [ Mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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