straw man

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n straw man an effigy in the shape of a man to frighten birds away from seeds
    • n straw man a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted
    • n straw man a person used as a cover for some questionable activity
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Idioms

Man of straw - A weak person that can easily be beaten of changed is a man of straw.
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Straw man - A straw man is a weak argument that is easily defeated. It can also be a person who is used as to give an illegal or inappropriate activity an appearance of respectability.
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Usage

In literature:

It was the straw to the drowning man, but I was determined to grasp it.
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid
Once more, it was like the drowning man catching at the straw.
"The Plant Hunters" by Mayne Reid
It was like the drowning man catching at straws.
"Bruin" by Mayne Reid
But the drowning man cannot restrain himself from catching even at a straw.
"The Wild Huntress" by Mayne Reid
His man placed the straw hat in the boot.
"The Dark Star" by Robert W. Chambers
Sleepy, scared and bewildered, I presented my plea with such eloquence that the man put his team in another stall and left us to our straw.
"A Son of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
From behind the truss of straw to his right there rose the figure of a man.
"Captain Dieppe" by Anthony Hope
Old Man Curry was kneeling in the straw, dipping bandages in a bucket of hot water.
"Old Man Curry" by Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan
So the old man made a straw ox.
"Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17)" by Various
Perhaps the majority, however, have thick sloping roofs of straw, the eaves being hardly as high as a man's head.
"Where Half The World Is Waking Up" by Clarence Poe
But here the old man soon discovered that he had only exchanged wheat for straw.
"Cossack Fairy Tales and Folk Tales" by Anonymous
He grasped it like a drowning man would clutch a straw.
"Astounding Stories of Super-Science, October, 1930" by Various
Before I could answer that audacious woman, a man came along with green spectacles on his eyes, and a broad straw hat on his head.
"Phemie Frost's Experiences" by Ann S. Stephens
A drowning man is willing to grab the first straw he sees.
"Captain Pott's Minister" by Francis L. Cooper
Remember, your faither is a hard man, reaping where he hasna sowed and gaithering where he hasna strawed.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XIX (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Guido caught at the straw like a drowning man, and raised himself on his elbow.
"Cecilia" by F. Marion Crawford
Now I hear that you have refused him, and, just as a drowning man grasps at a straw, I resolved to have my fate absolutely settled before I sail.
"Maori and Settler" by G. A. Henty
The young man wears a light check summer suit and a straw hat.
"Majesty" by Louis Couperus
She is sure to snatch at a chance, as a drowning man at a straw, and I pat myself on the back for my inspiration.
"The Lightning Conductor" by C. N. Williamson
A man should never be above learning, and we are in such a sore strait that one catches at a straw.
"Sturdy and Strong" by G. A. Henty
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In poetry:

How such a man pleased women most
Of all that are gone,
How such a pair loved many years
And such a pair but one,
Stories of the bed of straw
Or the bed of down.
"A Man Young And Old: IX. The Secrets Of The Old" by William Butler Yeats
Then lay before us on the rigid rack
Straw limbs and a horse's polished skull.
Gulls mocked as walked away across the sea
The man we hunted but could not keep or kill.
"The Island" by George Woodcock
The young man's wrath is like light straw on fire;
Heard ye so merry the little bird sing?
But like red-hot steel is the old man's ire,
And the throstle-cock's head is under his wing.
"Davie Gellatley's Song" by Sir Walter Scott
For a bite and a sup, and a bed of clean straw,
We'll tell you such marvels as man never saw,
On a Magical Island which no one did spy
Save this Master, that Swabber, yon Bo'sun, and I.
"The Coiner" by Rudyard Kipling
“If the child be some other man’s,
And if it be none of mine,
The manger shall be straw two spans,
Betwixen kine and kine.”
Mary that made sin cease,
Bring us to thy Son’s peace.
"A Christmas Carol" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
From the man whom I love, though my heart I disguise,
I will freely describe the wretch I despise;
And, if he has sense but to balance a straw,
He will sure take a hint from the picture I draw.
""From the man whom I love, though my heart I disguise,"" by Tobias Smollett

In news:

The Right's "Wealth Redistribution" Straw Man.
In the context of the US policy debate, pundits attach labels to opponents in order to avoid debating issues or in order to construct straw man arguments.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writing about the Muslim protests, should spare us her straw-man argument (Comment, September 25).
This one is more of a straw man that a fallacy.
File this political attack under grasping at straws using a straw man.
Court slams investor in Okatie ' straw man ' loan.
Krugman's Too Big to Fail Straw Man .
A true classic of the straw-man form from Sorkin, here.
Obama fighting a straw-man .
Criminal Law – ' Straw man ' identity material in false statements firearms case.
Orrin Hatch's VAT Straw Man .
Whenever there is a need for a crisis to move the populace in the desired direction, someone finds a straw man .
Burning Man vs Straw Man .
Orrin Hatch's VAT Straw Man.
This is a straw man argument.
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In science:

The ILC map is not intended for statistical analysis but in any case represents a useful “straw man” for testing statistical techniques for robustness.
Random-Walk Statistics and the Spherical Harmonic Representation of CMB Maps
In Table 12 we outline a very high-level straw man summary of the major verification tasks for a telescope plus coronographic instrument implementation of TEC.
Coronographic Methods for the Detection of Terrestrial Planets
Random field theory constrained this much is a straw man of a th eory.
Models of measurement for quantum fields and for classical continuous random fields
For us, the bivariate random walk model plays the role of a straw man.
Interpreting self-organizing maps through space--time data models
Table 2 The straw-man criterion i considers the expected net change in wealth. criterion ii considers time-average growth rates which are mathematically identical to expected net changes in utility.
Menger 1934 revisited
Currently, a “straw man” design is being used for the purpose of sensitivity studies.
sPHENIX: An Upgrade Concept from the PHENIX Collaboration
The prediction from the ‘straw man’ model, standard Cold Dark Matter (sCDM) is shown by the dashed line in Figure 2.
New physics from the Cosmic Microwave Background
In short it makes a good straw man but is rarely taken seriously in the modeling of real systems.
The structure and function of complex networks
As a “straw man” for the black hole hypothesis, boson stars may unfortunately contain too much straw.
Towards a formalism for mapping the spacetimes of massive compact objects: Bumpy black holes and their orbits
Instead, it defines a null hypothesis set up as a ‘straw man’ purely for testing the significance of Kj .
Spectroscopic binaries with elliptical orbits
Accordingly, if the ‘straw man’ survives the test, we do not accept the null hypothesis but merely conclude that Kj is too small to be detected.
Spectroscopic binaries with elliptical orbits
Unconstrained theories were studied during the 1970s as “straw-man” alternatives to GR.
The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment
The simplest and most explored LSTC scenario, known as the technicolor ‘straw-man’ model postulates O(9) doublets, so FT ∼ v 3 .
Technicolor Signals at the LHC
Mrenna, “The collider phenomenology of technihadrons in the technicolor Straw Man Model,” Phys.
Technicolor Signals at the LHC
The simplest multi-representation model is Two-Scale technicolor , which postulates only two technicolor scales, F1 and F2 . The reason so many studies exist for the ‘straw-man’ technicolor model is that it is currently the only technicolor model implemented in the ubiquitous Monte Carlo program PYTHIA.
Technicolor Signals at the LHC
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