I'm looking for a verb whose meaning is approximately "use as a starting point for, opportunistically" or "use as a pretext for". For example,

She's using her safety presentation to [             ] her campaign to increase employee wages.

Meaning: She's exploiting her presentation to launch her campaign.

My friend loves [               ] mall expeditions (onto/on) grocery shopping trips.

Meaning: My friend loves to opportunistically turn grocery shopping trips into mall expeditions.

I used to think the word "bootstrap" ("bootstrapping") served this purpose, but have since come to learn that it refers more to autonomy than opportunism.

I also considered "piggyback" ("piggybacking"), but this carries the strong connotation of attaching something minor to something major, which isn't the case for the desired verb.

"Segue into" was a third candidate, although it refers more to transitioning than to starting something new.

Finally, I considered "kickstart" ("kickstarting"), but this doesn't always imply opportunism, and furthermore sounds awkward in many situations (e.g. "kickstart my complaint", "kickstart his request for tax returns").

I'm not certain if a verb with this precise meaning exists in the English language, although I can't shake the feeling that one does.

  • to jump start a campaign, comes to mind. Not kickstart. And "My friend loves turning x into y".
    – Lambie
    Jan 18, 2018 at 14:52
  • 1
    She's using her safety presentation to shoehorn in her campaign to increase employee wages. Otherwise, just introduce if you want something bland. Switching it round, you could say she was hijacking the grocery trip for her mall expeditions.
    – JonLarby
    Jan 18, 2018 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


Leverage is the perfect fit. From MW:

transitive verb

2 : to use for gain : exploit
shamelessly leverage the system to their advantage —Alexander Wolff

She's using her safety presentation to leverage her campaign to increase employee wages.


You might be able to use the word "maneuver".

From Oxford Dictionaries Online:




Move skillfully or carefully.

The truck was unable to maneuver comfortably in the narrow street

Carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end.

Along the way he's manoeuvred a group of marginal seat holders into more powerful positions.

Carefully manipulate a situation to achieve an end.

By 1987 it was clear that the grieving period was over as politicians manoeuvred for supremacy.


"masquerade" is a lovely word that would fit your first example nicely

"transform" is obvious for your second example, but you seem to want something more general

"costume", "mask" and "veil" suggest themselves


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