1: a wily subterfuge.
2: an action intended to mislead, deceive, or trick; stratagem.
[Origin: French, from Old French, roundabout path taken by fleeing game, trickery, from reuser. Early 15c., “dodging movements of a hunted animal; 1620s, a trick, from Old French ruse, reuse diversion, switch in flight; trick, jest (14c.), back-formed noun from reuser to dodge, repel, retreat; deceive, cheat,” from Latin recusare deny, reject, oppose, from re– + causari plead as a reason, object, allege, from causa reason, cause]
“She was already thinking of how she may use the astrologer to negotiate a better fee with the Village Chief. The stars and their confluence could at first be hard to read, leaving some uncertainty about whether the two prospective spouses were well suited to each other. Then, if the groom was steadfast on getting the bride that he had his eyes on, for an additional fee the matchmaker could be convinced to get a second astrologer’s interpretation, one more auspicious and conforming to the will of heaven. She had been doing her trade throughout several provinces for years, and that ruse had yet to fail her. – Village Teacher, by Neihtn.
Note: Village Teacher is an excellent story, recommended.
Rob Grigjanis says
La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas. -- Baudelaire, Le spleen de Paris.
A widely shared sentiment, that.