red herring was our Word of the Day on 10/03/2008. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of red herring in a Sentence
The argument is a red herring. It actually has nothing to do with the issue.
The plot of the mystery was full of red herrings.
Recent Examples of red herring from the Web
In retrospect, proposing these designations that are relevant to nonwhite history seem like red herrings meant to distract from his suggested gutting of an embryonic national monument full of significance to indigenous Americans.
But instead, Jones tossed out the red herring that there were professional agitators out in the crowd, an unsubstantiated tidbit that some in the TV news corps snatched up and ran with without question.
The international travel comparison is actually all a red herring.
The focus is still on multiple strands of elaborately, sometimes confusingly plotted detection (with more red herrings than necessary).
That debate about the anthem and the flag is the reddest of red herrings.
Romantic relationships in this show are red herrings for the audience and Rebecca.
What countries such as Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Baltic states have shown is that the long-running debate over austerity was a red herring.
In the end, all theories of nighttime previsioning are red herrings.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'red herring.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Believe it or not, red herring has as much to do with hunting dogs as with brightly colored fish. Here's how: A herring is a soft-finned bony fish. People who like to eat herring have long preserved them by salting and slowly smoking them. That process makes a herring turn red or dark brown - and gives them a very strong smell. Dogs love to sniff such smelly treats, a fact that makes the fish a perfect diversion for anyone trying to distract hunting dogs from the trail of their quarry. The practice of using preserved fish to confuse hunting dogs led to the use of the term red herring for anything that diverts attention from the issue at hand.
First Known Use of red herring
Financial Definition of RED HERRING
What It Is
A red herring is a registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by a company that intends to make a public equity offering. The red herring is a rough draft of the company's prospectus and includes a description of the company's business, financial condition, strategy, management, litigation and risk factors.
How It Works
A red herring receives its name from the prominent disclosure statement in red letters stating that the company is not attempting to sell its securities prior to the SEC's approval.
Information within a red herring changes either because the SEC requires it or the issuer chooses to alter or add to the existing disclosure. After the SEC approves the document, the red herring becomes the final prospectus and can be used to solicit orders from investors.
Why It Matters
Underwriters often use red herrings to gauge interest in their offerings. They are often the first look investors get at a new issuer.
RED HERRING Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of red herring for English Language Learners
: something unimportant that is used to stop people from noticing or thinking about something important
legal Definition of red herring
Origin and Etymology of red herring
Learn More about red herring
Spanish Central: Translation of red herring
Seen and Heard
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