eye +‎ wash


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eyewash (usually uncountable, plural eyewashes)

  1. (countable, uncountable) A soothing medicated lotion for the eyes
  2. (uncountable, slang) Nonsense; flattery; pretentiousness.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter XI, in Jeeves in the Offing:
      Talking of being eaten by dogs, there's a dachshund at Brinkley who when you first meet him will give you the impression that he plans to convert you into a light snack between his regular meals. Pay no attention. It's all eyewash. [...] He wouldn't hurt a fly, but he has to put up a front because his name's Poppet. One can readily appreciate that when a dog hears himself addressed day in and day out as Poppet, he feels he must throw his weight about. His self-respect demands it.




eyewash (third-person singular simple present eyewashes, present participle eyewashing, simple past and past participle eyewashed)

  1. To fool with nonsense or flattery.
  2. (intelligence) To keep information secret by sending false information to many people in one's own organization, and correct information to a select few.
    • 2016 January 31, “‘Eyewash’: How the CIA deceives its own workforce about operations”, in The New York Times[1]:
      But others said that eyewashing was a standard security practice that had been in existence for decades.

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