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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Somebody told me the word 'straw man'/'man of straw' means something to the effect of either:

    A) was described as "a person who holds a common man's opinion OR a person who holds an opinion even if he's oblivious on the matter"
    B) such an opinion

    The term is probably derogatory in nature.

    I've tried searching for this particular definition and the closest thing I came across was "A person of weak characters", which I don't believe is the same as either (A) or (B).

    My question is, has anyone either heard of or used the word as it is defined in (A) or (B)? Is there an archaic definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' that matches the aforementioned definitions?
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 10-Apr-2015 at 22:07. Reason: Increasing font size.

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    #2

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/straw%20man

    This is the only "straw man" I know of.

    a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Hi, Kyle!

    Your friend is wrong. Dave is exactly right. It's an irrelevant argument that is only made because it's easy to knock down. See:

    Straw_man

    And it's always straw man, never man of straw. That would sound weird.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    man of straw

    n1. a person of little substance
    2. Also called: straw man US a person used as a cover for some dubious plan or enterprise; front man
    3. a man who cannot be relied upon to honour his financial commitments, esp because of his limited resources
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/man+of+straw




    Note that this is quite different from a "straw man" as described above, and a false argument is not called a "man of straw".

  4. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Thanks for the answers.
    So am I correct in saying that, not only are 'man of straw' and 'straw man' two different words, but also neither of them mean what my friend said it meant?

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Yes. But they aren't words; they are terms or phrases.

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    #7

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Ask your friend where they got it from, but I have never come across this meaning.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Is this definition of 'straw man'/'man of straw' correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    man of straw

    n1. a person of little substance
    2. Also called: straw man US a person used as a cover for some dubious plan or enterprise; front man
    3. a man who cannot be relied upon to honour his financial commitments, esp because of his limited resources
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/man+of+straw




    Note that this is quite different from a "straw man" as described above, and a false argument is not called a "man of straw".
    Thanks, Ray! I've never heard it used that way. Glad I checked in today!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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