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Red Herring

Something that can be extremely misleading and can cause the attention of an individual to be diverted to something else from the main issue/subject


  • Red herring is primarily a fish which is being preserved and picked in a special manner that it gets reddish. The smell of the fish is also very strong. A few centuries ago, this particular fish was used for the training purposes of the hunting dogs so that they’d be able to follow the trails. The hunting dogs used to follow the scents of the red herring which was dragged on various paths. People who used to hate hunting dragged it across fox’s path so that the hunting dog gets confused and follow the wrong direction. Similarly, escaping crooks also used the same red herrings in order to diminish their own scents so that it would become difficult for bloodhounds to find them. This idiom became popular in the 19th Century.

Students are willing to protest before exams but it actually is a red herring tactic by them.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

Additional definitions for 'Red Herring':

red herringA clue that is misleading or that has been falsified, intended to divert attention.
red herringA smoke-cured herring.
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