What is it called when you use one person to hide the real person or action ? What is that person called.?

Example: someone being investigated for cheating. He doesn't want the real woman (who he's cheating with) to be discovered by his wife. So, he goes out with his friend (another woman) often and in public... To prove to his wife that it's just "a friendship"... And that way, his wife won't look further into the real woman her husband is cheating with.

So the question is: What is the friend being used as? Or What would the noun be for the friend? What is she? In this case (the friend... Not the cheater woman)

  • Decoy, scapegoat, beard? Please provide some context.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 12:50
  • 1
    I think we're going to need far more information about what are describing here. Proxy might fit, decoy might fit... There's helpful advice in the single-word-request tag info.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 12:50
  • You need to give more details of your intended context. For example, there are words/concepts such as mule, scapegoat and stalking horse, all of which are very different. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 12:51
  • @AndrewLeach , I wrote an example above. Hopefully it makes sense
    – Bonita
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:12
  • 1
    The person is a decoy, The activity is misdirection.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:14

3 Answers 3


The person is being used as a decoy:

1.1 A person or thing used to mislead or lure someone into a trap.

‘we need a decoy to distract their attention’

The activity described is misdirection:

1 [mass noun] The action or process of directing someone to the wrong place or in the wrong direction.

‘the deliberate misdirection that had put me off the track’


Red herring /noun

  1. something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.

Source: Dictionary.com


Smoke screen /noun

  1. Something intended to disguise, conceal, or deceive; camouflage.

Source: Dictionary.com

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.