• decoy •
dee-koy • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. Anything used to lure an animal or person into a trap. 2. A pond surrounded by nets leading into network pipes into which ducks may be lured and captured.
Notes: This noun may be used as a verb meaning "to lure a person or animal into a trap". It is a lexical orphan, though some have used decoyer in the sense of "human decoy". The present participle of the verb, decoying, many be use for an adjective and action noun.
In Play: Duck hunters use carved and painted duck decoys often: "Manley Hunter is a great resource for waterfowlers, offering expert guidance on critical issues like duck calling, decoys, and retrievers." The verb decoy is a near synonym of lure and entice: "For the Normandy Invasion in WWII, the allies used balloons the size, shape, and color of hundreds of tanks to decoy the Nazis away from the planned landing site."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a reduction of the Dutch phrase de kooi "the decoy", from Middle Dutch de kouw "the cage" The Dutch definite pronoun de comes from the PIE demonstrative pronoun to "that", which also gave us English that and the, and German das "that, the". Middle Dutch kouw "cage" came from PIE keuo-/kouo- "hole, hollow", which also unerlies Latin cavus "hollow, concave". English borrowed the descendant of this word, French cave, as, well, cave. French had extended cave to cavern, so English borrowed it, too. (Let's all give Rob Towart a round of applause for providing us with yet another in a long series of substantial Good Words.)
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