wild goose chase


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms.

wild goose chase

A prolonged or chaotic search for something that is difficult to find (often because it does not exist). I've been on a wild goose chase trying to find a bag of Dan's favorite potato chips. Those jerks sent me on a wild goose chase to find a copy of a book that hasn't been released yet!
See also: chase, goose, wild

wild goose chase

A futile search or pursuit, as in I think she sent us on a wild goose chase looking for their beach house. This idiom originally referred to a form of 16th-century horseracing requiring riders to follow a leader in a particular formation (presumably resembling a flock of geese in flight). Its figurative use dates from about 1600.
See also: chase, goose, wild

wild goose chase

A hopeless search or pursuit. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Romeo: Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I'll cry a match. Mercutio: Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hastmore of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five. Although chasing a wild goose seems pointless and doomed to failure, Shakespeare's reference was to horse racing, where a “wild goose chase” was a race in which horses followed a lead horse at a set distance, mimicking wild geese flying in formation.
See also: chase, goose, wild
References in periodicals archive ?
Rather than go on a wild goose chase I am sure it will be made known how much money is available.
But as they arrived in Pakistan yesterday, he said they would not be allowed to go on "a wild goose chase and create a political disturbance" in the country.
During the chaotic day they also forgot their divorce papers, spent three hours on a wild goose chase trying to find them, and their house was trashed.
Rather than support the Board of Airport Commissioners' Resolution for immediate local action, which the residents prefer, he asks the BOAC to support a time-consuming national effort which many believe is a wild goose chase.
THE Wild Goose Chase (Useless TV, Thursday) was one of those programmes watched out of a sense of duty, only to turn out to be very engrossing.
Ari Fleischer, a spokesperson for the Bush campaign, said that if anyone was "hoping to hear something that the governor would say that he hasn't said publicly, then they're on a wild goose chase.
Unbeaten Loving Claim prefers a faster surface but her shrewd trainer wouldn't be sending her on a wild goose chase.
A GROUP of pigs in Darwin, Australia, has been leading police on a wild goose chase.
A non-profit group said that it will sue Casey Anthony for the $100,000 it spent on the 2008 wild goose chase to find her "missing" daughter.
Ms Knight described how he led police on a wild goose chase, eventually coming to a halt in a cul-de-sac.
Indeed, there is growing evidence around the world that we have embarked upon a wild goose chase.
Since then their search for help has resulted in them being sent backwards and forwards on a wild goose chase between NHS Coventry, the Department of Health and their local MP.
He told jurors the three men had led a group of "Sheffield drug dealers" on a wild goose chase after promising them three kilos of strong skunk cannabis.
He led the English king through the uplands of Deheubarth for several wasted weeks on a wild goose chase to allow Owain the chance to make his escape to Gwynedd where he could consolidate a position of strength"
But taxpayers will still have to pick up the bill for the cost of this wild goose chase.