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[n. dee-koi, dih-koi; v. dih-koi] /n. ˈdi kɔɪ, dɪˈkɔɪ; v. dɪˈkɔɪ/
a person who entices or lures another person or thing, as into danger, a trap, or the like.
anything used as a lure.
a trained bird or other animal used to entice game into a trap or within gunshot.
an artificial bird, as a painted wooden duck, used for the same purpose.
a pond into which wild fowl are lured for capture.
an object capable of reflecting radar waves, used as a spurious aircraft, missile, chaff, etc., for the deception of radar detectors.
verb (used with object)
to lure by or as if by a decoy:
They decoyed the ducks to an area right in front of the blind.
verb (used without object)
to become decoyed:
Ducks decoy more easily than most other waterfowl.
Origin of decoy
1610-20; variant of coy (now dial.) < Dutch (de) kooi (the) cage, Middle Dutch cōie < Latin cavea cage
Related forms
decoyer, noun
2. enticement, bait, inducement, allurement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decoy
  • My experiences inside the hippo decoy were incredibly rewarding as a scientist, yet at times also extremely scary.
  • decoy weapons are a time-honored military tradition.
  • So he towed a seal decoy made of carpet behind his boat, in order to attract a breaching shark.
  • The space-age design isn't some decoy, though, because the drops have some impressive pedigree under the hood.
  • One team attacked an empty armored personnel carrier, which had been parked at the crossing as a decoy.
  • When team members venture outside to interview witnesses, they use decoy armored convoys and switch vehicles frequently.
  • The formula was a decoy, intended to mislead the rival team.
  • Potential wildlife poachers are caught in the act of shooting at a deer decoy.
British Dictionary definitions for decoy


noun (ˈdiːkɔɪ; dɪˈkɔɪ)
a person or thing used to beguile or lead someone into danger; lure
(military) something designed to deceive an enemy or divert his attention
a bird or animal, or an image of one, used to lure game into a trap or within shooting range
an enclosed space or large trap, often with a wide funnelled entrance, into which game can be lured for capture
(Canadian) another word for deke (sense 1)
verb (dɪˈkɔɪ)
to lure or be lured by or as if by means of a decoy
(transitive) (Canadian) another word for deke (sense 2)
Derived Forms
decoyer, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch de kooi, literally: the cage, from Latin caveacage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decoy

1610s, perhaps from Dutch kooi "cage," used of a pond surrounded by nets, into which wildfowl were lured for capture, from West Germanic *kaiwa, from Latin cavea "cage." The first element is possibly the Dutch definite article de, mistaken in English as part of the word. But decoy, of unknown origin, was the name of a card game popular c.1550-1650, and this may have influenced the form of the word.


1650s, from decoy (n.). Related: Decoyed; decoying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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