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Red herring   /rɛd hˈɛrɪŋ/   Listen
Red herring

Any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue.
A dried and smoked herring having a reddish color.  Synonym: smoked herring.
A first draft of a prospectus; must be clearly marked to indicate that parts may be changed in the final prospectus.  Synonym: preliminary prospectus.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"Red herring" Quotes from Famous Books

... Peter, eagerly sniffing at the red herring Lancelot had thrown across the track. "You stand out for a royalty on every copy, so that if you strike ile—oh, I beg your pardon, that's another of the phrases you ...
— The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes • Israel Zangwill

... la Cardinal Haddocks, Baked Hake and Potatoes Ham with Madeira Sauce Ham, York, Sweetbreads, Madeira Sauce Hare " Hunter's Haricots, Red Herring and Mayonnaise Herrings, Dutch Hoche Pot Hoche Pot Gantois Hoche Pot of Ghent Hors d'Oeuvre ...
— The Belgian Cookbook • various various

... by a sailor, who presented himself for that purpose at the counting-house, among bales of goods of every description. The merchant, to reward him for his news, munificently made him a present of a fine red herring for his breakfast. The sailor had, it appears, a great partiality for onions, and seeing a bulb very like an onion lying upon the counter of this liberal trader, and thinking it, no doubt, very much out of its place among silks and ...
— Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Vol. I • Charles Mackay

... him by these amendments, however mistaken and injudicious the South might think them. The obsolete Black Laws instituted during the slave regime must be removed from the statute books. The negro, like Mohammed's coffin, swung in midair. He was neither fish, flesh nor fowl, nor good red herring. For our own sake we must habilitate him, educate and elevate him, make him, if possible, a contented and useful citizen. Failing of this, free government ...
— Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography • Henry Watterson

... hay. No. 2, which he expected to find a spirited marine sketch, is in reality only a toothbrush lying beside a jack-plane; while the supposed companion picture, "Caught in a Squall Off Yarmouth," is represented by a red herring. No. 4, "The Last of Poor Dog Tray," is a sausage, and the exhibitor particularly begs that no gentleman will on any account whistle while passing this picture. No. 5, "He Will Return, I Know He Will," presumably the agonized cry of a forsaken maiden, is in reality a poor-rate collector's paper, ...
— Entertainments for Home, Church and School • Frederica Seeger

... the Tide week, the company went to Idle, and I went with them; and thence to the Bradford Fairground. It goes without saying that when Bill o'th' Hoylus End was playing as a king one night and next morning getting a red herring to his breakfast, there was something radically wrong somewhere. Still I had a hearty reverence for the "silvery fish," as will be apparent from ...
— Adventures and Recollections • Bill o'th' Hoylus End

... in his dexter mauley a red herring, whilst a white table-cloth (the centre of his motions) would proclaim some mysterious rite, must to the young ladies have seemed a merman suddenly come up from the sea, without sound of conch; whilst to him the large deputation from female Megara ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v2 • Thomas de Quincey

... numerous bibliographies of works upon all classes of animals, fish, flesh, and fowl—even the good red herring.[86] For these you must turn to Mr. W. P. Courtney's invaluable work. The 'Bibliographia Zoologiae et Geologiae, a General Catalogue of all Books on Zoology and Geology,' was compiled by L. Agassiz and H. E. Strickland for the Ray Society—four octavo volumes, ...
— The Book-Hunter at Home • P. B. M. Allan

... us more ashamed, for such a sneaking rat to preach upon us, like a regular hordinated chaplain, as might say a word or two and mean no harm, with the license of the Lord to do it. So my son Bob and me called a court-martial in the old tower, so soon as we come round; and we had a red herring, because we was thirsty, and we chawed a bit of pigtail to keep it down. At first we was glum; but we got our peckers up, as a family is bound to do when they comes together. My son Bob was a sharp lad in his time, and could read in Holy Scripter afore he chewed a quid; and I see'd a good deal ...
— Mary Anerley • R. D. Blackmore

Words linked to "Red herring" :   diversion, divagation, deflection, deflexion, smoked herring, digression, deviation, prospectus, preliminary prospectus, course catalogue, course catalog, herring

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