red herring


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to red herring: Red herring prospectus, Red herring fallacy

red herring

Something irrelevant that diverts attention away from the main problem or issue. The candidate used the minor issue as a red herring to distract voters from the corruption accusations against him. The mystery writer is known for introducing red herrings to arouse the reader's suspicion of innocent characters.
See also: herring, red

red herring

a piece of information or suggestion introduced to draw attention away from the real facts of a situation. (A red herring is a type of strong-smelling smoked fish that was once drawn across the trail of a scent to mislead hunting dogs and put them off the scent.) The detectives were following a red herring, but they're on the right track now. The mystery novel has a couple of red herrings that keep readers off guard.
See also: herring, red

red herring

Something that draws attention away from the central issue, as in Talking about the new plant is a red herring to keep us from learning about downsizing plans . The herring in this expression is red and strong-smelling from being preserved by smoking. The idiom alludes to dragging a smoked herring across a trail to cover up the scent and throw off tracking dogs. [Late 1800s]
See also: herring, red

a red herring

COMMON If something is a red herring, it takes people's attention away from the main subject, problem, or situation that they should be considering. All the fuss about high pay for public employees is a bit of a red herring. The really serious money is to be found in private companies. A sighting of the missing woman in London turned out to be a red herring. Note: A red herring is a herring that has been soaked in salt water for several days, and then dried by smoke. Red herrings were sometimes used when training dogs to follow a scent. They were also sometimes used to distract dogs from the scent they were following during a hunt.
See also: herring, red

a red herring

something, especially a clue, which is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.
This expression derives from the former practice of using the pungent scent of a dried smoked herring to teach hounds to follow a trail (smoked herrings were red in colour as a result of the curing process).
See also: herring, red

a red ˈherring

a fact, etc. which somebody introduces into a discussion because they want to take people’s attention away from the main point: Look, the situation in French agriculture is just a red herring. We’re here to discuss the situation in this country.This idiom comes from the custom of using the scent of a smoked, dried herring (which was red) to train dogs to hunt.
See also: herring, red

red herring

A misleading clue. Many people who know the phrase believe it came from the practice of game poachers laying scents of smoked herring (smoking accounted for the fish's reddish color) to throw gamekeepers and their dogs off the poachers' scent. However, etymologists discount that explanation, favoring instead that the phrase originated with an English writer who used the scent-laying image as a metaphor for a particular political plan. Mystery writers, readers, and critics use “red herring” to describe a piece of plotting intended to throw the reader off in deducing who-done-it. The financial world uses the phrase to mean a stock prospectus, not from any intent to deceive, but because the document has a red cover.
See also: herring, red
References in periodicals archive ?
Red Herring is accepting proposals for any kind of speaking opportunities online at: http://www.
Winners of the Red Herring Top 100 Europe will be showcased during the Red Herring's Venture Market Europe conference.
Companies like Skype and MySQL were spotted in their early days by Red Herring editors as some that would change the way we live and work.
Red Herring, founded in 1993, is a media company whose mission is to cover innovation, technology, financing and entrepreneurial activity.
Red Herring is dedicated to thorough research, relevant metrics, deep financial analysis, in-depth reporting, crisp writing and thoughtful debate.
To honor the Red Herring 100 companies, Red Herring has invited their CEOs and founders to present at its Red Herring Spring 2006 conference, a forum for technology's most exciting companies, and to share their insights on the future of innovation and the entrepreneurial journey.
Red Herring Spring 2006 will assemble 300 of the continent's most innovative and successful CEOs, investors, and corporate developers and feature a dynamic group of over 100 speakers that are pushing and breaking the boundaries of the business of technology.
As one of the winners, Nextrials' CEO, James Rogers, will present the company at the exclusive Red Herring Spring 2006 CEO Summit, being held May 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, CA.
Being named to the Red Herring 100 North America is another key step forward for Nextrials," Rogers said.
The Red Herring 100 North America companies, among them TeleCIS, are pushing and breaking the boundaries of the technology business and we are excited to report on their success stories.
The Red Herring 100 North America companies, among them Contactual, are pushing and breaking the boundaries of the technology business and we are excited to report on their success stories.
The on-demand contact center is precisely the kind of disruptive technology that Red Herring knows can have a major impact on the business community," said Mansour Salame, Contactual founder and CEO.
This marks the second consecutive year that ThingMagic has been named to the Red Herring 100, from among thousands of entrants.
The Red Herring 100 North America companies, among them BioPassword, are pushing and breaking the boundaries of the technology business and we are excited to report on their success stories.