wild goose chase

wild goose chase

Meaning | Synonyms

  • wasting resource working on something that does not exist
  • spending time searching for something that is simply impossible to find
  • a foolish search for something that cannot be achieved
  • a chase for something that's beyond your reach

Example Sentences

  1. They tampered with my research. Thank God I found it out. I'm sure they were hoping to send me on a wild goose chase as I continue my research.
  2. The convict escaped the police custody on the way to jail. Police is apparently on a wild goose chase after he vanished into woods.
  3. It turns out that my brother took my car keys. I had been on a wild goose chase this whole morning searching them in the entire house.
  4. Jonathan looking for his lost phone may be on a wild goose chase.
  5. Michel ends up on a wild goose chase trying to find a rental house of her dream.

Origin

The phrase's origin, in reality, has nothing to do with wild geese or chasing them. The origin of the idiom 'wild goose chase' is rooted in an old form of horse race called 'Wild Goose Chase.' The race involved several horses racing behind the main lead rider at a predetermined distance. The race more or less resembled the formation in which wild geese fly.

However, the race used to follow an unpredictable course. That's why eventually the phrase came to be used where someone is aimlessly, or uselessly doing something.

The phrase 'wild goose chase' was first used like an idiom by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet in mid 1590's -

"Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five: was I with you there for the goose?"

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W 1 Thought

Contribution & Thoughts 1

This is patently claptrap and anyone who ever tried to chase wild geese (or any ground feeding bird) gets the exact meaning of running to one place only to see the target fly to another before you get close enough.

- Gilbert Green March 16, 2019

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