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Wild-goose chase   /waɪld-gus tʃeɪs/   Listen
Wild-goose chase

The fruitless pursuit of something unattainable.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"Wild-goose chase" Quotes from Famous Books

... Detector away, I say again; it only makes you purblind; don't you see what a wild-goose chase it has led you? The bill is good. Throw ...
— The Confidence-Man • Herman Melville

... The idea of sending him on such a wild-goose chase, after night. Papa would turn in his grave could he know he had been forced out in the rain at such an hour, for a woman's whim. I would have suffered tortures till morning first. ...
— Miriam Monfort - A Novel • Catherine A. Warfield

... adopting the tactics of Conachar when brought face to face with Hal o' the Wynd, I have been trying to get my simple-minded adversary to follow me on a wild-goose chase through the early history of Christianity, in the hope of escaping impending defeat on the main issue. But I may be permitted to point out that there is an alternative hypothesis which equally fits the facts; and that, after all, there ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... blue eyes opposite were still twinkling. "In the first place, you're my good friend—my best friend. You wouldn't be seen letting me start off on a wild-goose chase like this without your guiding hand at the helm to see that I didn't come ...
— Oh, Money! Money! • Eleanor Hodgman Porter

... us has the fairest claim to disease,' said Emilius, 'I will not examine. At least your inconceivable frivolousness, your hunger and thirst after stop-gaps for every hour you are awake, your wild-goose chase after pleasures that leave the heart empty, seem not to me altogether the healthiest state of the soul. In certain things, at all events, you might make a little allowance for my weakness, if it must once for all pass for such: and there is nothing ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... a brief and bald account of the most famous of these pirates. But they are only a few of a long list of notables, such as Captain Martel, Capt. Charles Vane (who led the gallant Colonel Rhett, of South Carolina, such a wild-goose chase in and out among the sluggish creeks and inlets along the coast), Capt. John Rackam, and Captain Anstis, Captain Worley, and Evans, and Philips, and others—a score or more of wild fellows whose very names made ship captains tremble in their shoes ...
— Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates • Howard I. Pyle

... "What a wild-goose chase you sent us all on, I and Staupitz and the others—flying into Spain to find Lagardere and the child. The others hunted for him, as I suppose you know, with the results which, also, I ...
— The Duke's Motto - A Melodrama • Justin Huntly McCarthy

... back homeward through Mexico in straggling groups. Great sadness prevailed in Mexico, for many had lost their fortunes besides friends and relatives in the enterprise. Coronado seemed to the people of the time to have led a costly army on a wild-goose chase. He himself thought that the regions he had crossed were valueless. He said they were cold and too far away from the sea to furnish a good site for a colony, and the country was neither rich enough nor populous enough to make ...
— Introductory American History • Henry Eldridge Bourne and Elbert Jay Benton

... the endless circle of hypothetical argument, and, after leading us a weary chase through octavos, quartos, and folios, has let us out at the end of his work just as wise as we were at the beginning. It was doubtless some philosophical wild-goose chase of the kind that made the old poet Macrobius rail in such a passion at curiosity, which he anathematises most heartily as "an irksome, agonising care, a superstitious industry about unprofitable things, an itching humor to see what is ...
— Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete • Washington Irving

... thy pace, While he joined in the wild-goose chase; Thou'rt now the great one of this place, While he hath lost his phantom race— ...
— Revised Edition of Poems • William Wright

... up along the rim of h—I mean the Arctic, on a government wild-goose chase," he explained. "And I'm just ...
— God's Country—And the Woman • James Oliver Curwood

... take care of me!" he prayed to the old fire-king, and forgot, poor little man, that he had come on this wild-goose chase northward to save and take ...
— Bimbi • Louise de la Ramee

... Smith "that I am trying to lead you blindfolded in order later to dazzle you with my perspicacity. I am simply afraid that this may be a wild-goose chase. The idea upon which I am acting does not seem to have struck you. I wish it had. The fact would argue in favor of ...
— The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu • Sax Rohmer

... or his mother?' said the locksmith dubiously. 'Ah! you needn't shake your head, sir. It was a wild-goose chase. I feared that, from the first. You exhausted all reasonable means of discovery when they went away. To begin again after so long a time has passed is hopeless, ...
— Barnaby Rudge • Charles Dickens

... descent of the property, and enable the family to prove its claims to an ancient title. Now, rather as a matter of curiosity, than with any real hope of success,— and being slightly connected with the family,—I have taken what seems to myself a wild-goose chase; making it merely incidental, you well understand, not by any means the main purpose of ...
— Doctor Grimshawe's Secret - A Romance • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... with the alternatives of sitting at the H™tel Dieu to await developments or of hiring a car at the garage nearby and going on a wild-goose chase which, whether successful or unsuccessful, must end unprofitably. Hermia had paid him in strange coin. Could she afford it? He knew something of Pierre de Folligny. What did Hermia know? She was mad, of course. He had thought her mad before when she had volunteered with him for Vagabondia, ...
— Madcap • George Gibbs

... all this is fine talking. But I return to my text: we are as God made us. I am neither a philosopher nor a poet, to set out upon a wild-goose chase of making myself a different man from what you find me. As for consequences, what must be must be. As we brew we must bake. And so, do you see? I shall not trouble myself about what is to be, but stand up to it with a stout heart when it comes. Only ...
— Caleb Williams - Things As They Are • William Godwin

... everybody now knows well, was to send the English fleet upon a wild-goose chase, whether to Egypt, the west coast of Ireland, or the West Indies, as the case might be; and then, by a rapid concentration of his ships, to obtain command of the English Channel, if only for twenty-four hours at a ...
— Springhaven - A Tale of the Great War • R. D. Blackmore

Words linked to "Wild-goose chase" :   pursuance, pursuit, quest

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