Best example, rider swinging down the side of their horse to use it [the horse] as concealment or cover viewed from the other side of the horse.

Other examples: thieves using a political protest or riot for premeditated looting; tailgating one's way past a door (i.e. using someone else's authorization); slipping unrelated funding or statute into a bill.

Update: Thanks for all the suggestions.

I'm looking for a word that describes the class of actions, not words describing the action itself. Like "ingratiating behavior" vs. "sucking up"


2 Answers 2


Consider stalking horse

A false pretext concealing someone’s real intentions. [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

Also Trojan horse

A person or thing intended secretly to undermine or bring about the downfall of an enemy or opponent: the rebels may use this peace accord as a Trojan horse to try and take over [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

And red herring

Something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting: the book is fast-paced, exciting, and full of red herrings [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

More mundane terms might be

  • pretense: An attempt to make something that is not the case appear true: his anger is masked by a pretense that all is well
  • pretext: A reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason: the rebels had the perfect pretext for making their move
  • guise: An external form, appearance, or manner of presentation, typically concealing the true nature of something: he visited in the guise of an inspector

[all Oxford Dictionaries Online]


Such a tactic might also be called a diversion, distraction or subterfuge.

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