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1.
(METAPHOR) relatively transparent ruse to hide something embarrassing behind something good, or something neutral. For example, a man may attempt to hit on a woman by attempting to get her involved in bible study. The woman would ordinarily find being hit on disagreeable or even offensive, so the man conceals his intentions as something considered good.

Comes from the tradition of Renaissance artists using figleaves to conceal the genitalia of nude subjects.
During the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, neoconservatives used concern for the the welfare of Iraqis under Saddam's oppressive rule as a figleaf for their bloodlust.
by Primus Intra Pares July 21, 2010