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.’
    bluff, blind, ruse, feint, deception, subterfuge, hoax, trick, ploy, device, wile, sham, pretence, artifice, cover, smokescreen, distraction, expedient, contrivance, machination
    dodge, put-on, put-up job
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  • 2Something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.

    ‘the book is fast-paced, exciting, and full of red herrings’
    • ‘Many academics will talk about productivity and value, and profitability, but these issues are red herrings.’
    • ‘Yet my own view was that for my particular story, this was a bit of a red herring.’
    • ‘The weird narrative developments are beginning to feel less like clues and more like red herrings.’
    • ‘Often they're false clues, red herrings.’
    • ‘It is a quest for the truth that drops vital clues and red herrings along the way.’
    • ‘In fact, the narrative is full of loose ends and red herrings, and the episodic writing frequently loses momentum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's most often when these kinds of things happen, it's a red herring, it's just a propaganda ploy.’
    • ‘We suspect that the Environment Agency is using the issue as a red herring to draw the attention away from their own inadequacies.’
    • ‘No, I think that issue is a real red herring.’
    • ‘However they were uncertain as to whether it was the address of one of the suspects or a red herring.’
    • ‘This is simply a red herring to try and distract angry voters in Hobson.’
    • ‘There are few red herrings to distract you from the inexorable march of the plot.’
    • ‘I had the postcode, the street, a number and a few clues about a jeep but a red herring about curtains.’
    • ‘But the focus on the 45-minute claim is itself a red herring intended to draw attention away from a far bigger deception.’
    • ‘Duplicities and red herrings pile up, augmented by the film's reinforcing structures of uncertainty, making for a daunting epistemological game.’
    • ‘The issue was made as a red herring to detract from the real issues in respect of his management style.’
    • ‘I'm told there is evidence to back up this claim, so why the red herrings?’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Obviously, the old murder-mystery impetus is there, and the red herrings and shock revelations are being doled out as standard.’
    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

/ˈˌred ˈheriNG/