We have a car dealer around here with an ad that reads "No Fake Lures". Now, as I understand the concept of a lure, if it doesn't attract attention, it's not a lure. And if a lure does attract attention, it's a lure, so no matter what is used to make the fake lure, it's a an actual lure. Therefore, it's not possible to have a fake lure. What do you call a statement like "No fake lures"?

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    I expect that the idea is actually that they're not going to draw you in with an advertisement for a deal that you can't actually get, for example "first 10 people get a free $100 gift voucher!" and then no matter how early you arrive, you're the 11th person. That would qualify as a "fake lure" in my book. – Hellion Jul 15 '12 at 21:41
  • I agree with Hellion. I would go further and say that the matter in question is all about semantics: how do we define fake and how do we define lure? It is possible to define these terms in ways that have contradictory meanings. – Robusto Jul 16 '12 at 3:45
  • Could the term I'm looking for be "doublespeak"? – Major Stackings Jul 16 '12 at 3:57
  • Most likely, the dealer is specifically asserting not to use several common sales practices that lure a person into a dealership with a promise on which they cannot collect. The most classic such fake lure is a bait and switch TV ad that mentions "... great deals like this brand new Ford F250 for under $20,000!" The dealership in fact has exactly one truck at that price, that truck. One lucky person gets it, and everyone else is told that truck is sold and the rest are at the regular price (around $30,000). The lure is fake because you don't get the promised deal. – David Schwartz Jul 16 '12 at 9:39
  • When ever I see "No fake lures" I just make sure to bring live bait. ;) – Marcus_33 Jul 16 '12 at 15:26

From OP's perspective a fake lure is presumably an oxymoron - a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms.

I can't say I agree though. Suppose the dealership has a sign saying "Up to 90% off", but in fact no prices are reduced by more than 10%. The dealer might say "Ah, but we did have a car a few years ago that we sold for 90% less than the original (unrealistically high) asking price". I would say that particular "lure" was "fake", in that it was misleading.

So really, I just think OP has adopted a narrow and unhelpful definition of "lure" in this context.

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You could say that this phrase is tautologous, since all lures are fake and therefore the use of the adjective "fake" adds nothing. Tautology is often used as a literary device for emphasis, but here it is just a poorly expressed idea. However, as the previous answerer pointed out, this assumes that all lures are fake.

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  • This can't be right. OP says he thinks no lures are fake. And your proposition that all lures are fake just doesn't stand scrutiny - what's "fake" about The Lure of the Sea, for example? – FumbleFingers Jul 15 '12 at 23:16
  • @FumbleFingers yep I understand that not all are fake, but I thought that we were assuming that for the purpose of this question. The Lure of the Sea is a very good example of one that is not. – JamesHH Jul 15 '12 at 23:21
  • Well I can't deny that if OP had supposed all lures to be fake, you could reasonably say fake lure was (from his perspective) tautological (and go on to point out that his perspective was flawed in the first place! :) But he didn't say that, so it seems to me your answer addresses a flawed question that hasn't actually arisen anyway. – FumbleFingers Jul 15 '12 at 23:29
  • I see. Well, it's a good word anyway. – JamesHH Jul 16 '12 at 11:21
  • Absolutely - it's a word that's well worth knowing (I'll be sure to upvote you when the chance comes up for you to use it validly in an answer! :) – FumbleFingers Jul 16 '12 at 12:43

I'd say this is merely an epithet, not oxymoron, not tautology. Lures can be fake or real.

Imagine the salon carries a Ferrari for $100k. Seems like a bargain, right? Situation 1: Under scrutiny, it appears to be all rust, ruin and junk barely painted on the outside. You won't buy the piece of junk even if you could afford it, no way! But you're already there, you may have a look at other cars. This is a fake lure, it attracted you to visit, seemed to be very attractive but appeared to be crap.

Situation 2: The car is in mint condition, and the price is very attractive, even if still out of range of most customers. People will come to see it, take it for a test drive, then buy a more affordable car. The car is definitely a lure, attracting many customers, but it's also a real bargain.

So in this case, the sign means: everything is worth its price, and you won't be ripped off buying attractive-looking junk.

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