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Something used to hide an embarrassing or shameful problem. In the Bible, Adam and Eve used fig leaves to conceal their genitals after they became ashamed of their nakedness. Gary used humor as a fig leaf to conceal the fact that he was struggling with depression.
a fig leaf
Something which is intended to hide an embarrassing or awkward situation can be called a fig leaf. The Code of Practice must be enforced, or else it is just a meaningless fig leaf. He said that retaining Stewart in a creative role was a `generous fig leaf that the company gave her'. Note: According to the Bible, when Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, they realized that they were naked and felt ashamed, so they covered their genitals with fig leaves. (Genesis 3:7)