red herring


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Related to red herring: Red herring prospectus, Red herring fallacy

red herring

n.
1. A smoked herring having a reddish color.
2. Something that draws attention away from the matter being discussed or dealt with.

[Sense 2, probably from the use of smoked herrings to lay scent trails for hounds to follow.]
Word History: A red herring was originally a herring cured by smoking, a process that imparts a reddish color to its flesh. It is not known how red herring came to denote something that diverts the attention of observers or investigators, but the modern meaning may have arisen in connection with the sport of hunting. A clue to its origin is found in A Gentleman's Recreation, a guide to hounds, hawks, horses, and other hunting matters first published in 1674 by the Englishman Nicholas Cox. This enormously popular book went through many editions, and in it Cox describes a practice that may have given rise to the modern expression red herring. If the day's hunt has been uneventful and the huntsman's horse has been unable to work up a good sweat, Cox recommends having a dead cat or fox, or lacking these, a red herring, dragged over the countryside for about four miles, and then setting the hounds on the scent trail thus created. As a substitute for an animal carcass, a red herring would have been readily available in any English kitchen, and its pungent, fishy-smelling flesh would have left a scent that the hounds could track easily. By riding after the hounds as they followed the scent, the huntsman could ensure that his horse has received sufficient exercise. The modern meaning of the expression red herring was perhaps inspired by practices similar to this and developed from the notion of deliberately laying an artificial trail that could distract one's pursuers. However, the first known use of the term red herring in its modern sense, "something that distracts attention from an important issue," occurs in the 1800s, well after the publication of Cox's book.

red herring

n
1. anything that diverts attention from a topic or line of inquiry
2. (Cookery) a herring cured by salting and smoking

red′ her′ring


n.
1. a smoked herring.
2. something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.
3. a tentative financial prospectus describing a proposed offering, as of stocks, that has not yet been officially registered or approved: so called because the front cover must carry a special notice printed in red.
[1375–1425]

red herring

- Something intended to be misleading or distracting, so named from the practice of using the scent of red herring in training hounds.
See also related terms for scent.

red herring

Something intended to mislead or divert attention from something else; from the old practice of dragging a herring across a track to confuse tracking dogs.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.red herring - any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
digression, divagation, diversion, deflexion, deviation, deflection - a turning aside (of your course or attention or concern); "a diversion from the main highway"; "a digression into irrelevant details"; "a deflection from his goal"
2.red herring - a dried and smoked herring having a reddish colorred herring - a dried and smoked herring having a reddish color
herring - valuable flesh of fatty fish from shallow waters of northern Atlantic or Pacific; usually salted or pickled
3.red herring - a first draft of a prospectus; must be clearly marked to indicate that parts may be changed in the final prospectus; "because some portions of the cover page are printed in red ink a preliminary prospectus is sometimes called a red herring"
course catalog, course catalogue, prospectus - a catalog listing the courses offered by a college or university
Translations
دَليل كاذِب في التَّحْقيقشَيءٌ يُرادُ به صَرْف الإنْتِباه
falešná stopaodvedení pozornosti
afledningsmanøvre
savusilli
elterelõ mozzanat
agn notaî til aî leiîa á villigöture-î sem dregur athyglina frá aîalefninu
falošná stopaodvedenie pozornosti
saptırmayanıltıcı ipucu

red herring

n (fig) → falsa pista

red

(red) noun, adjective
1. (of) the colour of blood. a red car/dress / cheeks; red cheeks; a red car/dress / cheeks; Her eyes were red with crying.
2. (of hair or fur) (of) a colour which varies between a golden brown and a deep reddish-brown.
3. (a) communist. Red China; A lot of his university friends are Reds.
the Red Army
the army of the former USSR.
ˈredden verb
1. to make or become red or redder. to redden the lips with lipstick.
2. to blush. She reddened as she realized her mistake.
ˈreddish adjective
slightly red. reddish hair.
ˈredness noun
ˈredcurrant noun
a type of garden bush grown for its small red fruit.
ˈredhead noun
a person with red hair.
red herring
1. something that leads people away from the main point in a discussion.
2. a false clue or line of enquiry.
ˌred-ˈhot adjective
(of metal etc) so hot that it is glowing red. red-hot steel; This iron is red-hot.
Red Indian
a North American Indian.
red-letter day
a day which will always be remembered because of something especially good that happened on it.
red tape
annoying and unnecessary rules and regulations.
be in the red
to be in debt.
catch red-handed
to find (a person) in the act of doing wrong. The police caught the thief red-handed.
see red
to become angry. When he started criticizing my work, I really saw red.
References in classic literature ?
Huxtable, it would be well to allow the people in your neighbourhood to imagine that the inquiry is still going on in Liverpool, or wherever else that red herring led your pack.
Mamma," said Rosamond, "when Fred comes down I wish you would not let him have red herrings.
He asked this member of the fraternity (who had two red herrings in his hand, and a loaf and a blacking brush under his arm), where was the nearest place to get a cup of coffee at.
Hindley,' I answered; 'it has been cutting red herrings.
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