smoke and mirrors

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a. A mixture of gases and small suspended particles of soot or other solids, resulting from the burning of materials such as wood or coal.
b. A cloud of such gases and suspended particles.
c. A vapor, mist, or fume that resembles this.
2. Something insubstantial, unreal, or transitory: "What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion" (Henry David Thoreau).
a. The act of smoking a form of tobacco: went out for a smoke.
b. The duration of this act.
4. Informal Tobacco in a form that can be smoked, especially a cigarette: money to buy smokes.
5. A substance used in warfare to produce a smokescreen.
6. Something used to conceal or obscure.
7. A pale to grayish blue to bluish or dark gray.
8. Baseball Pitches thrown at high velocity; fast balls: threw a lot of smoke in the early innings.
v. smoked, smok·ing, smokes
a. To draw in and exhale smoke from a cigarette, cigar, or pipe: It's forbidden to smoke here.
b. To engage in smoking regularly or habitually: He smoked for years before stopping.
2. To emit smoke or a smokelike substance: chimneys smoking in the cold air.
3. To emit smoke excessively: The station wagon smoked even after the tune-up.
4. Slang
a. To go or proceed at high speed.
b. To play or perform energetically: The band was really smoking in the second set.
a. To draw in and exhale the smoke of (tobacco, for example): I've never smoked a panatela.
b. To do so regularly or habitually: I used to smoke filtered cigarettes.
2. To preserve (meat or fish) by exposure to the aromatic smoke of burning hardwood, usually after pickling in salt or brine.
a. To fumigate (a house, for example).
b. To expose (animals, especially insects) to smoke in order to immobilize or drive away.
4. To expose (glass) to smoke in order to darken or change its color.
5. Slang
a. To kill; murder.
b. To defeat decisively, as in a competition.
6. Baseball To throw (a pitch) at high velocity.
Phrasal Verb:
smoke out
1. To force out of a place of hiding or concealment by or as if by the use of smoke.
2. To detect and bring to public view; expose or reveal: smoke out a scandal.
go up in smoke
1. To be destroyed by fire.
2. To experience complete failure in an attempt to do or achieve something: Our plans to open a bakery went up in smoke when we were unable to secure funding.
smoke and mirrors
Something that deceives or distorts the truth: Your explanation is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

[Middle English, from Old English smoca.]

smok′a·ble, smoke′a·ble adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

smoke and mirrors

irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation
[C20: reference to the use of smoke and mirrors in conjuring illusions]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

smoke′ and mir′rors

(used with a sing. or pl. v.) something that distorts or blurs facts, figures, etc.; artful deception.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Webber also feels there is a touch of "smoke and mirrors" to their relationship at McLaren which the British duo insist is harmonious.
"I understand there are some changes in accounting procedures where you get a bit of a smoke and mirrors element coming in."
you declared yourself 'as a VA nurse' and publicly declared the government which employs you to have 'tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence' and advocated, 'act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.'"