Like above, I saw a word before which was used to call someone or actions of someone who led other people into action which in their minds would cause them to win against you, and it is exactly what you wanted thus manipulating them into doing it.

TL;DR: Someone does stuff against you and they win, but, it is exactly what you wanted and the win benefits you in some way (eg. partial truth is uncovered).

  • In chess, it's a sacrifice. Commented May 9, 2017 at 12:24
  • @ Edwin Ashworth Its different, because it will not be evident that this benefits you in any way, where as sacrifice will become apparent in a couple of moves..
    – Snufkin
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 12:53
  • 'Offer oneself as bait' is an expression used hereabouts. Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


You could say that they were playing/planning/executing a Xanatos Gambit.

A Xanatos Gambit is a plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure. The creator predicts potential attempts to thwart the plan, and arranges the situation such that the creator will ultimately benefit even if their adversary "succeeds" in "stopping" them.


So for example:

"John wanted to get Peter fired. As such, he planned a Xanatos Gambit by proposing to revitalize the HR system. If it succeeded, it would remove the need for Peter in the company. If it failed, John made sure that Peter would receive the blame and be fired for it"

However, it is not a single word, and is difficult to use as such.

  • Thank you, precisely what I was looking for but couldn't describe it properly.
    – Snufkin
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 15:02

I think it's called Reverse psychology.

  • 1
    It is different from reverse psychology since you do not suggest anything to a person or group of people, or influence them in any other way. An example of what I am thinking about could be Media constantly bashing Trump and spreading bad things about him after he said certain controversial things, thus giving him free media coverage.
    – Snufkin
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 11:15
  • In your question, you state manipulating someone, but in this comment you say do not suggest anything. I am unclear on exactly what you want, @Snufkin.
    – Davo
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 11:37
  • Reverse psychology is asking people to do one thing because you know they'll the opposite.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 11:37
  • @Chenmunka Yeah that what I thought his question was about, guess not. now I think he might mean propaganda, but who knows.
    – Voidfrost
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 11:45
  • @davos I am not too sure how to explain it any better but basically you know a person or a group of people will go against you, and they will win, but it was all a part of your master plan. It is not reverse psychology since you do not suggest one thing to people hoping them to do the opposite.
    – Snufkin
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 11:50

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