wild goose chase


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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 worthless hunt or chase; a futile pursuit. I wasted all afternoon on a wild-goose chase. John was angry because he was sent out on a wild-goose chase.
See also: chase

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

a wild goose chase

If you describe a search for something as a wild goose chase, you mean that it was a waste of time and you found nothing, usually because the information you were given was wrong. Every time I've gone to Rome to try to find out if the story could be true, it has turned out to be a wild goose chase. I hope I haven't been sent off on another wild goose chase. Note: In medieval times, a wild goose chase was an unusual kind of horse race. It started with an ordinary horse race. The winner then rode in any direction they chose and the other riders had to follow. The race may have been called `a wild goose chase' because the movements of wild geese are often irregular and unpredictable, which makes them difficult to hunt.
See also: chase, goose, wild

a wild goose chase

a foolish and hopeless search for or pursuit of something unattainable.
This expression is first recorded in the late 16th century. It was then the term for a kind of equestrian sport in which all the competitors had to follow accurately the course of the leader at definite intervals, like a flight of wild geese. Later, the term was applied to an erratic course taken by one person or thing and followed by another.
1998 Spectator The ‘struggle to align the clock and the heavens’, then, is ultimately the story of mortal vanity, or at least a wild goose chase.
See also: chase, goose, wild

a ˌwild ˈgoose chase

a (long) search for something that you cannot find because you have been given the wrong information: He gave us the wrong directions to the station and that led us off on a wild goose chase.Peter’s story sent the police on a wild goose chase. They soon realized he’d been lying.In the past, this was a sport in which horse riders had to follow the exact course taken by the first rider, like the way that geese fly by following a leader. Later it referred to any unplanned or irregular course taken by one person and followed by another, and then came to mean something that was like trying to find a wild goose: that is, a difficult or hopeless task.
See also: chase, goose, wild

wild goose chase, a

A fruitless search or senseless pursuit. Pursuing a wild goose was already transferred to other wild chases by Shakespeare’s time. A popular follow-the-leader game was so called, and referred to by Shakespeare: “Nay if thy wits run the wild goose chase, I have done” (Romeo and Juliet, 2:4).
See also: 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 ?
We then proceeded to send him on a wild goose chase from Washington to LaGuardia Airport to East 76th Street in Garden City, Long Island, where we had told him he would find Bill, to East 76th Street in New York City, where Bill actually was.
A poet, prose writer, essayist, translator, and academic whose most noteworthy accomplishments include the aforementioned translation of The Peloponnesian War, historical novels, and original fiction such as The Wild Goose Chase, The Professor, and The Aerodrome (not to mention the translations that contributed to the Greek poet, essayist, and diplomat George Seferis winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963), Warner appears to have been a crucial voice in twentieth-century literature, literary scholarship, and the writing of political essays.
Who has the diamonds and where is anybody's guess, and the reader gets the delight of being caught up in this wild goose chase. Daria Karpova brings back some fun to the literary forum with a dose of action mixed with adventure, opposites and attractions, and a little whodunit for good measure.
Once the software is loaded, users can click on any text in any desktop application and a small pop-up window appears with the relevant translation of a particular word or of an expression such as 'wild goose chase.' Babylon also tries to help people correctly pronounce foreign words.
A Google search can lead you on a wild goose chase through pop-up ads, sports gambling sites and debt consolidation solutions, and even if yon do find the information that you are looking for, can you really be sure it is reliable?
They hook up with Ali (Yigit Ozsener), who agrees to drive them cross-country on the wild goose chase. Not so wild, actually; just dumb and boring.
Eddie Hume sent us on a wild goose chase (briefly) due to the full-sleeve tats.
We are all familiar with cartoons in which Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck throw on a quick, transparent disguise and send the pursuing Yosemite Sam or Elmer Fudd off on a wild goose chase. Politicians regularly use this ploy when caught red-handed, pointing to some supposed crisis or a scandal involving their opponents to divert attention from their own misdeeds.
U-Roy (generally considered the greatest and most influential of all DJs), Big Youth, Dillinger, I-Roy and Ranking Trevor are all represented, in some cases with their most significant recordings: Dillinger's "Flat Foot Hustling" remains a true classic of the genre, as is BigYouth's "Wild Goose Chase" (here presented in an extended version that includes the dub mix).
Finding the next two addresses turned out to be a wild goose chase. The tenants at an apartment complex that seemed to me "exactly 75 meters west of the Colegio Metodista" knew nothing.
But whereas the first novel dwelt on the troublesome stasis of life on the bum among the self-appointed wretched of the earth, More Bread or I'll Appear is a wild goose chase. Or, seeing that the novel is a portmanteau of contemporary Irish themes (along with much, much more), maybe it should be called a Wild Goose chase.
The decisions to explore Montreal's casino culture and to dwell at such length on Madame Therrien's wild goose chase around the city's metro system were based on a desire to aerate the film, to take it outside the doctor's waiting room where the book is set.
It represents a valiant attempt to move discussion of the history of technology beyond both technological determinism and what Ogle calls the "wild goose chase" of technological impact.
The Politics of Unease should also kindle textual scholars' interest in editing some of the less well known of Fletcher's plays (The Woman's Prize, say, or The Wild Goose Chase), which need to be made available in editions more affordable than either The Revels Plays or the current Cambridge edition being published under the general editorship of Fredson Bowers.
He was at his best when he could bring his lyric talents and sophistication to bear on such comedies of manners as The Wild Goose Chase, The Scornful Lady (c1614), Wit without Money (1614), and Rule a Wife and Have a Wife (1624).