a wild-goose chase

a wild-goose chase

a situation where you waste time looking for something that you are not going to find, either because that thing does not exist or because you have been given wrong information about it After two hours spent wandering in the snow, I realised we were on a wild-goose chase. When I found out that there was no Anita Hill at the university, I began to suspect that I had been sent on a wild-goose chase.
See also: chase
References in classic literature ?
I think, young lady, if you will allow me to say so that you are making a needless mystery of the matter, and further, that you are embarking upon what will certainly prove to be a wild-goose chase.
A MOTHER whose daughter has been missing for nearly 10 years has slammed a clairvoyant who led gardai on a wild-goose chase.
The old and costly guessing game -- taking a circuit out of service for tests, or sending technicians on a wild-goose chase for problems they might not even own -- has been replaced by the Intelligent Surveillance and accuracy of Clearview CircuitView.
Egberts-Greene, also known as Mikki Nelson, was arrested April 10 after sheriff's helicopters and deputies from three sheriff's stations went on a wild-goose chase looking for McEntire's tour bus, which they were told had broken down in the Acton area.