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[staw-king-hawrs] /ˌstɔ kɪŋˌhɔrs/
a horse, or a figure of a horse, behind which a hunter hides in stalking game.
anything put forward to mask plans or efforts; pretext.
a political candidate used to conceal the candidacy of a more important figure or to draw votes from and cause the defeat of a rival.
Origin of stalking-horse
1510-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for stalking-horse
Historical Examples
  • I take no delight in the stalking-horse, for I catch such cold that I am like to founder myself at that sport.

  • For many years we have been the butt of the Tibetans, and China their stalking-horse.

    The Unveiling of Lhasa Edmund Candler
  • But the unwisdom of the king serves him for a stalking-horse while secretly he pursues the goal of his private ambition.

  • That revolt of Saint-Antoine got up by traitor Royalists for a stalking-horse?

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • An ancient device for getting within shot of wild-fowl was the stalking-horse.

    The Ornithology of Shakespeare James Edmund Harting
  • The claim of kindred cannot for ever be the stalking-horse for injustice.'

    The Transvaal from Within J. P. Fitzpatrick
  • But Mary's death was as convenient a stalking-horse to him as to the pope; and now the Armada was coming in earnest.

    Westward Ho! Charles Kingsley
  • The sotie was directly satirical, and only assumed the guise of folly as a stalking-horse for shooting wit.

  • Incredible that he should have chosen Kitty for his stalking-horse—yet whom else had there been to choose?

    The Story of Louie Oliver Onions
  • Thus Balder the Beautiful in my hands is little more than a stalking-horse to carry two heavy pack-loads of facts.

    Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I. Sir James George Frazer
British Dictionary definitions for stalking-horse


a horse or an imitation one used by a hunter to hide behind while stalking his quarry
something serving as a means of concealing plans; pretext
a candidate put forward by one group to divide the opposition or mask the candidacy of another person for whom the stalking-horse would then withdraw
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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