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(See also SECRECY.)
all one’s geese are swans See EXAGGERATION.
cover one’s tracks To hide or conceal one’s actions or motives, to cover up, to get rid of the evidence. The allusion is to the practice of American Indians, backwoodsmen, and such, who erased or otherwise obliterated their footprints to avoid being followed. See Indian file, ARRANGEMENT.
In corresponding, I endeavored to cover my tracks as far as possible. (Albert D. Richardson, The Secret Service, the Field, the Dungeon, and the Escape, 1865)
gild the pill To mask or ease an offensive or onerous task by providing attractive incentives; to cloak in euphemism. This expression is derived from the sugary coating applied to pills to make them more palatable.
Palmerston must go … There was no attempt to gild the pill, since on reflection it seemed better that he should not lead the Commons. (Philip Guedalla, Palmerston, 1926)
put up a smoke screen To camouflage or conceal one’s intentions, motives, or actions from one’s rivals or opponents, or from the general public. A smoke screen is a cover of dense smoke produced to camouflage a ship, plane, or area from the enemy during top-secret military operations.
A reply which General Waters considers was a skilful smoke-screen to conceal a refusal. (The Observer, June, 1928)
sweep under the carpet To cover up or conceal something embarrassing or disagreeable in the hope that it will escape notice or be forgotten; also to push under the carpet.
It would be self-deception to think that unemployment could be dealt with by emergency measures and pushed under the carpet. (The Times, January, 1963)
Of fairly recent coinage, this expression refers to the lazy person’s step-saving trick of literally sweeping dirt under the rug instead of picking it up.
under the counter In a clandestine, often illegal manner; out of sight, set apart from the regular stock; having to do with money changing hands unofficially or illegally. The counter or table is the one over which money is exchanged for merchandise. Under-the-counter or under-the-table practices or products are often connected with the black market. The expression was popular during World War II when certain luxury items were in demand but accessible only “under the counter.” Banned books have also been popular “under-the-counter” items.
Chief goods to “go under the counter” are fully fashioned silk stockings, watches, and silk handkerchiefs. (Evening Standard, December 20, 1945)
Under the counter is usually used interchangeably with under the table, though the latter is heard more often to describe payment made but not officially recorded, thus evading taxes.
whitewash To cover up defects, faults, or mistakes, especially to deceive the public about the disreputable goings on of a public figure; to make the guilty look innocent or to condone a reprehensible action, by hiding or manipulating the facts and creating a façade of respectability. To whitewash is literally to whiten with a composition of lime and water, or ground chalk. Figuratively, this Americanism means to exonerate or give a clean slate to an unethical or guilty person. Also used substantively, the term is commonly heard in political contexts.
Several Republican senators reported that the report was a “whitewash” of [Senator] McCarthy’s charges. (AP wire story, July 20, 1950)
|Noun||1.||concealment - the condition of being concealed or hidden|
isolation - a state of separation between persons or groups
bosom - the chest considered as the place where secret thoughts are kept; "his bosom was bursting with the secret"
confidentiality - the state of being secret; "you must respect the confidentiality of your client's communications"
hiding - the state of being hidden; "he went into hiding"
|2.||concealment - a covering that serves to conceal or shelter something; "a screen of trees afforded privacy"; "under cover of darkness"; "the brush provided a covert for game"; "the simplest concealment is to match perfectly the color of the background"|
blind - a hiding place sometimes used by hunters (especially duck hunters); "he waited impatiently in the blind"
camouflage - device or stratagem for concealment or deceit
covering - an artifact that covers something else (usually to protect or shelter or conceal it)
shoji - a translucent screen made of a wooden frame covered with rice paper
stalking-horse - screen consisting of a figure of a horse behind which a hunter hides while stalking game
|3.||concealment - the activity of keeping something secret|
activity - any specific behavior; "they avoided all recreational activity"
disguise, camouflage - the act of concealing the identity of something by modifying its appearance; "he is a master of disguise"
mask - activity that tries to conceal something; "no mask could conceal his ignorance"; "they moved in under a mask of friendship"
masking, screening, cover, covering - the act of concealing the existence of something by obstructing the view of it; "the cover concealed their guns from enemy aircraft"
cover - a false identity and background (especially one created for an undercover agent); "her new name and passport are cover for her next assignment"
cover-up - concealment that attempts to prevent something scandalous from becoming public
smoke screen, smokescreen - an action intended to conceal or confuse or obscure; "requesting new powers of surveillance is just a smokescreen to hide their failures"
money laundering - concealing the source of illegally gotten money