wild-goose chase

[wahyld-goos]

noun

a wild or absurd search for something nonexistent or unobtainable: a wild-goose chase looking for a building long demolished.
any senseless pursuit of an object or end; a hopeless enterprise: Her scheme of being a movie star is a wild-goose chase.

Nearby words

  1. wild west show,
  2. wild yam,
  3. wild-and-woolly,
  4. wild-card,
  5. wild-eyed,
  6. wild-headed,
  7. wildcat,
  8. wildcat bank,
  9. wildcat strike,
  10. wildcatter

Origin of wild-goose chase

First recorded in 1585–95

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for wild goose chase

wild-goose chase

noun

an absurd or hopeless pursuit, as of something unattainable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for wild goose chase

wild goose chase

n.

1592, first attested in "Romeo and Juliet," where it evidently is a figurative use of an earlier (but unrecorded) literal sense in reference to a kind of follow-the-leader steeplechase.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wild goose chase

wild goose chase

A futile search or pursuit, as in I think she sent us on a wild goose chase looking for their beach house. This idiom originally referred to a form of 16th-century horseracing requiring riders to follow a leader in a particular formation (presumably resembling a flock of geese in flight). Its figurative use dates from about 1600.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.