throw dust in someone's eyes


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throw dust in (one's) eyes

To mislead or deceive someone by presenting or introducing distracting or obfuscating information. It is a common tactic of despotic governments to throw dust in our eyes with fear and incitements to hatred in order to keep us from questioning their consolidation of power.
See also: dust, eye, throw

throw dust in someone's eyes

Mislead someone, as in The governor's press aide threw dust in their eyes, talking about a flight at the airport when he was heading for the highway . This metaphoric expression alludes to throwing dust or sand in the air to confuse a pursuing enemy. [Mid-1700s]
See also: dust, eye, throw

throw dust in someone's eyes

mislead someone by misrepresentation or diverting attention from a point.
See also: dust, eye, throw

throw dust in someone's eyes, to

To mislead someone. This term, already known in ancient Roman times, comes from the practice of soldiers confounding the enemy by literally throwing dust or sand in the air, creating a primitive kind of smoke screen. Used by Mohammed’s armies as well as many other early peoples, the practice was referred to by Erasmus (Adagia, 1523), who called it “A useful stratagem.” By Benjamin Franklin’s time the term was being used figuratively. “It required a long discourse to throw dust in the eyes of common sense,” he wrote (Works, 1767).
See also: dust, throw