wild-goose chase


variants or wild goose chase
: a complicated or lengthy and usually fruitless pursuit or search
These errors had two fatal consequences. The most obvious was that a number of engines and dozens of firefighters were sent on a wild-goose chase and did not get to the fire for many minutes.Jim Murphy

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The idea is to avoid sending patients on a wild-goose chase, since many pharmacies received only 20 Paxlovid treatment courses. New York Times, 6 Jan. 2022 Thyroid disease can also cause hair loss, so the misdiagnosis can send doctors on a wild-goose chase. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 12 Nov. 2021 Then, following that wild-goose chase of a paragraph, Amis presents us with a footnote—and another hundred words on etymology. Leo Robson, Harper's Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 Jagasia was 99 percent certain that this was a wild-goose chase. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2020 Victims of torture will lie, frequently and often, to make pain stop, or as in the case of some of the 9/11 mastermins, to send analysts off on wild-goose chases. al, 10 Feb. 2020 Likes: Leading millions of minions on a wild-goose chase to a fabled heaven. Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2019 There are wild-goose chases, setbacks, secrets, bombings. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 13 June 2019 That year, a man walked into a bank with a bomb locked onto his neck; the F.B.I. was led on a wild-goose chase by the conspirators in order to remove it. New York Times, 11 May 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wild-goose chase.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1595, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wild-goose chase was circa 1595

Dictionary Entries Near wild-goose chase

Cite this Entry

“Wild-goose chase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wild-goose%20chase. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

wild-goose chase

: a complicated or lengthy and usually unsuccessful pursuit or search
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