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
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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
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