1. Literally, a dense cloud of smoke, especially created by artificial means, used by the military to conceal positions, movements, or operations from the enemy. We've asked for air support to create a smokescreen so we can evacuate our troops in safety.
2. Any action or statement that functions to conceal or divert attention away from one's true plans, intentions, activities, motivations, etc. The news that the retailer is increasing their minimum wage across the country is really a smokescreen to cover the fact that they are making huge cuts to the benefits they offer. As soon as my mother starts prying into my dating life, I put up a smokescreen by asking my grandfather about his favorite fishing spots—a topic he could talk about for hours. Works every time!
a ˈsmokescreensomething that hides your real intentions, feelings, or activities: She couldn’t answer the question, so she tried to put up a smokescreen by talking angrily about the interviewer’s rudeness.
A smokescreen is a cloud of smoke used to hide soldiers, ships, etc. during a battle.
See also: smokescreen