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What is an adjective describing behavior used to cover up or conceal nefarious activity, as in a "smoke screen"? For example:

His _____ nightly coughing fits were meant to drown out the rattle of the window opening as the girl crept in.

  • ...something like distraction or diversion , except they are nouns? – Cascabel May 25 at 22:50
  • I've slightly altered your sample sentence, as I feel the adjective sounds more natural coming before "nightly". If you disagree, you can edit your question to change the word order. :-) – Chappo May 25 at 23:51
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    @Cascabel distracting or diverting would function as adjectives here... :-) – Chappo May 25 at 23:55
  • @Chappo My thought exactly... I was trying to get the OP to think outside of the box a little... – Cascabel May 26 at 0:14
  • It seems that deceitful and deceptive would fit here,  but they are very broad compared to the narrowness of the question. – Scott May 26 at 1:23
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"behavior used to cover up or conceal nefarious activity"

"cunning" implies the use of artful deceit and seems like a good fit.

"His cunning coughing fits were meant to drown out the rattle of the window opening as the girl..."

  • "cunning" - adj. crafty and shrewd, esp in deception; sly: cunning as a fox. TFD. Someone who is cunning has the ability to achieve things in a clever way, often by deceiving other people. Collins

e.g.

  • "The clever folk in management came up with a cunning plan."
  • "Their cunning plan was to turn the by-election into a referendum on the EU."
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You are looking for one of two words, depending on the final lexical environment you go with.

As it is now, the best fit, I think, is feigned. 'His feigned nightly coughing fits...'

You might also use ostensible, but I usually encounter that one as an adverb, so you might reword slightly to fit convention.

Cheers!

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His nightly (blank) coughing fits were meant to drown out the rattle of the window opening as the girl crept in.

I would pose the word mask the following way:

a fact, action, etc, that conceals something

As in:

She used his chronic coughing to mask the sounds of her entry into his room

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I don't think you need an adjective there, especially since you already have 'nightly' hanging about. Maybe you might consider ironing out the sentence a bit, like so—

His coughing fits were meant to camouflage the rattling window as the girl crept through.

  • I don't know why someone downvoted, with no explanation. I guess maybe they weren't happy because you didn't include a definition and link. Well, I upvoted -- I like camouflage and they didn't tell you how to fix your answer. To edit your answer, click where it says "edit." – aparente001 May 27 at 5:58
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    @aparente001 not my DV, but I'm guessing it's because the question asked for Adjective for “Cover up or conceal nefarious activity” and the answer fails to give one. It probably should have been a comment instead, and possibly should be closed as "Not An Answer". The DV could even be given as an objection to camouflage, which is an uncomfortable choice for disguising a sound. – Chappo May 27 at 23:01
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I'm not sure that a guy sneaking a girl into his room is nefarious, which means evil or wicked. So I'll stick to your use case scenario.

His deceitful nightly coughing fits were meant to drown out the rattle of the window opening as the girl crept in.

His misleading nightly coughing fits were meant to drown out the rattle of the window opening as the girl crept in.

Also consider devious, dramatic and theatrical.

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