An idiom like sailing under false colors

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Hello. In the past, when a cavalry wanted to mislead their enemies, they wore horsshoes which were upside down. So, if they had gone from north to south, their enemies, thought they had gone the opposite because of those horseshoes.
Is there any idiom or phrase to describe this situation accurately except "sailing under false colors," and "red herring?"
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Your example does not demonstrate "sailing under false colors," -> this means "pretending to be either neutral or a friend when, in fact, you are an enemy" (It is a naval expression: A ship would fly the flag (the colours) of another nation and then attack.

    More recently "sailing under false colors," or "a false flag operation" has been associated with one side destroying its own property and or attacking its own people and blaming it on the enemy.

    A "red herring" only refers to a piece of evidence that appears to be significant but, for whatever reason (not necessarily because of planning), it is not.

    You would have to describe the exact context if you want an accurate answer. :thumbsup:

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