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1. A political candidate who attempts to supplant the current party leader, solely to gauge how much support the incumbent has. He doesn't actually want to be elected—he's just a stalking horse who's trying to see how fractured our party really is.
2. Something that conceals a person's true intentions. I'm afraid that this deal is just a stalking horse for a more nefarious long-term plan.
stalk in(to some place)
to stride into a place, perhaps indignantly. Carl stalked into the manager's office and began his tirade. He stalked in and began to complain.
See also: stalk
stalk out of
some place to stride out of a place indignantly. Jeff stalked out of the store and went straight to the police. Mary got angry and stalked out of the meeting.
somebody's eyes are out on stalks(informal) also somebody's eyes are popping out of their head (informal)
if someone's eyes are out on stalks, they are looking at someone or something in a way that shows that they think that person or thing is extremely surprising or attractive
Usage notes: In funny drawings, people and animals are often drawn with their eyes coming out of their head to show that they are very surprised.You should have seen Pete when Bec turned up in her short skirt. His eyes were out on stalks.
a stalking horse
1. a politician who tests the strength of a party's support for its leader by competing for the job of leading the party although they do not really intend to be elected He was a stalking horse, intended to undermine what was regarded at the time as a weak leadership.
2. something that is used to hide someone's real purpose It's feared that the talks are just a stalking horse for a much wider deal between the two parties.