smoke and mirrors

noun
(used with a singular or plural verb) something that distorts or blurs facts, figures, etc., like a magic or conjuring trick; artful deception.

Origin:
1980–85

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
smoke and mirrors
 
n
irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation
 
[C20: reference to the use of smoke and mirrors in conjuring illusions]

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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Slang Dictionary

smoke and mirrors definition


  1. n.
    a strategy of deception and cover up. : Her entire report was nothing but smoke and mirrors. Who could believe any of it?
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

smoke and mirrors definition


Marketing deceptions. The term is mainstream in this general sense. Among hackers it's strongly associated with bogus demos and crocked benchmarks (see also MIPS, machoflops). "They claim their new box cranks 50 MIPS for under $5000, but didn't specify the instruction mix - sounds like smoke and mirrors to me." The phrase has been said to derive from carnie slang for magic acts and "freak show" displays that depend on "trompe l"oeil' effects, but also calls to mind the fierce Aztec god Tezcatlipoca (lit. "Smoking Mirror") for whom the hearts of huge numbers of human sacrificial victims were regularly cut out. Upon hearing about a rigged demo or yet another round of fantasy-based marketing promises, hackers often feel analogously disheartened.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
Airport security is a farcical theatre of smoke and mirrors.
Again, looking beyond the smoke and mirrors of this statement, it is clear this
  is not really the case.
All the smoke and mirrors boil down to those figures.
The financial industry has many of the characteristics of smoke and mirrors.
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