false scent

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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Examples (writing)

"When compiling a dictionary from postal contributions, we sort the letters in order to be able to refer to them later."
"Letters" may be taken to be those of the alphabet, and so "order" to mean alphabetical order, laying the false scent that is not detected until the reader reaches "refer", if even then.


false scent (plural false scents)

  1. A scent laid down to distract a predator that hunts by smell from the scent trail of its prey.
  2. (writing) A misleading expectation created by ambiguous writing