wild-goose chase

variants: or wild goose chase

Definition of 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

Examples of wild-goose chase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There are wild-goose chases, setbacks, secrets, bombings. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "“The Westing Game,” a Tribute to Labor That Became a Dark Comedy of American Capitalism," 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, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition’ and ‘Evil Genius’," 11 May 2018 While all this is happening, Sheldon has been on a wild-goose chase around town trying to track down Bill Gates (Leonard decided to mess with his BFF by giving him the name of the wrong hotel). Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "'The Big Bang Theory' Season 11 Episode 18 Recap: Penny Envisions a New Career," 29 Mar. 2018 The book pivots on encounters with two strangers, who attempt to rope Epstein and Nicole into separate wild-goose chases. Peter Orner, New York Times, "In ‘Forest Dark,’ Nicole Krauss Plays With Divided Selves," 12 Sep. 2017 Some users have complained on social media that the app has sent them on a wild-goose chase for fuel with inaccurate or dated information. Alison Sider, WSJ, "GasBuddy App Scores Big During Florida Fuel Shortage," 9 Sep. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of wild-goose chase

circa 1595, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for wild-goose chase

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

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Comments on wild-goose chase

What made you want to look up wild-goose chase? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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