fig leaf

the leaf of a fig tree.
a representation of a fig leaf, used as an ornament in architecture, as a cover for the genitalia on a statue or in a painting, etc.
something intended to conceal what may be considered indecorous or indecent: to approach the facts of life with the fig leaves of roundabout expressions.

1525–35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fig leaf
1.  a leaf from a fig tree
2.  a representation of a leaf, usually a vine leaf rather than an actual fig leaf, used in painting or sculpture to cover the genitals of nude figures
3.  a device intended to conceal something regarded as shameful or indecent

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
Arbitrators eventually settled on reducing it to a one-course release, citing
  the fig leaf of fiscal exigency.
Others fear that ending guidance can be a fig leaf for companies in trouble.
Perhaps, but it is also true that western powers had never before reached for
  such a fig leaf.
Sometimes this has been true, other times it has been a fig leaf or an outright
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