wild-goose chase

noun
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 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 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, 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, 12 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.

See More

First Known Use of wild-goose chase

circa 1595, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About wild-goose chase

Time Traveler for wild-goose chase

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near wild-goose chase

wild gooseberry

wild-goose chase

wild-goose plum

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for 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 19 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!