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(n.) A horse, or a figure resembling a horse, behind which a hunter conceals himself from the game he is aiming to kill.
(n.) Fig.: Something used to cover up a secret project; a mask; a pretense.
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Webster, Noah. Entry for 'Stalking-Horse'. Noah Webster's American Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/web/s/stalking-horse.html. 1828.