Potemkin village

Potemkin village

noun
a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition.
Also, Potemkin Village.


Origin:
1935–40; after Prince Potëmkin, who allegedly had villages of cardboard constructed for Catherine II's visit to the Ukraine and the Crimea in 1787

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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WordNet
potemkin village

noun
something that seems impressive but in fact lacks substance 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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