Definition of red herring in English:

red herring

noun

  • 1A dried smoked herring, which is turned red by the smoke.

    • ‘Many a person has gone away smiling after eating one of Kipperman's red herring, bloaters or kippers.’
    • ‘In the next few decades these kippers almost completely took over the market from the old salty red herrings.’
  • 2A clue or piece of information which is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.

    ‘the book is fast-paced, exciting, and full of red herrings’
    ‘the food-supply issue is largely a red herring in this discussion’
    • ‘The issue was made as a red herring to detract from the real issues in respect of his management style.’
    • ‘But the focus on the 45-minute claim is itself a red herring intended to draw attention away from a far bigger deception.’
    • ‘The weird narrative developments are beginning to feel less like clues and more like red herrings.’
    • ‘This is simply a red herring to try and distract angry voters in Hobson.’
    • ‘In fact, the narrative is full of loose ends and red herrings, and the episodic writing frequently loses momentum.’
    • ‘It is a quest for the truth that drops vital clues and red herrings along the way.’
    • ‘Obviously, the old murder-mystery impetus is there, and the red herrings and shock revelations are being doled out as standard.’
    • ‘Many academics will talk about productivity and value, and profitability, but these issues are red herrings.’
    • ‘Often they're false clues, red herrings.’
    • ‘Most of the film is spent working very hard to build suspense and distract the audience with red herrings that stop being effective early on.’
    • ‘However they were uncertain as to whether it was the address of one of the suspects or a red herring.’
    • ‘There are few red herrings to distract you from the inexorable march of the plot.’
    • ‘Yet my own view was that for my particular story, this was a bit of a red herring.’
    • ‘We suspect that the Environment Agency is using the issue as a red herring to draw the attention away from their own inadequacies.’
    • ‘I had the postcode, the street, a number and a few clues about a jeep but a red herring about curtains.’
    • ‘Where else but in detective stories do we find ‘coats in store windows’ invested with such importance - as real clues or red herrings, as the case may be?’
    • ‘I'm told there is evidence to back up this claim, so why the red herrings?’
    • ‘No, I think that issue is a real red herring.’
    • ‘It's most often when these kinds of things happen, it's a red herring, it's just a propaganda ploy.’
    • ‘Duplicities and red herrings pile up, augmented by the film's reinforcing structures of uncertainty, making for a daunting epistemological game.’
    bluff, blind, ruse, feint, deception, subterfuge, hoax, trick, ploy, device, wile, sham, pretence, artifice, cover, smokescreen, distraction, expedient, contrivance, machination
    lie, falsehood, fib, fabrication, deception, made-up story, trumped-up story, invention, fiction, piece of fiction, falsification, falsity, cock and bull story, barefaced lie
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Pronunciation

red herring