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View synonyms for wild-goose chase

wild-goose chase

[ wahyld-goos ]

noun

  1. a wild or absurd search for something nonexistent or unobtainable:

    a wild-goose chase looking for a building long demolished.

  2. any senseless pursuit of an object or end; a hopeless enterprise:

    Her scheme of being a movie star is a wild-goose chase.



wild-goose chase

noun

  1. an absurd or hopeless pursuit, as of something unattainable


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Word History and Origins

Origin of wild-goose chase1

First recorded in 1585–95

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Idioms and Phrases

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.

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Example Sentences

People might well have argued that it was a waste of money to send Christopher Columbus on a wild goose chase.

"If you tell me to I s'pose I must, but I think it's a wild-goose chase anyhow," was the disapproving answer.

"I like him well enough to go on a wild-goose chase in search of him," the lady replied.

Miss Waller instantly denounced the scheme as a wild-goose chase, asserting that May was certain to lose her way.

In another minute he'd be on his way to a strange sun and a strange world, on what might well be the wild-goose chase of all time.

But nothing could be heard at first, and Mr. Blowitt again intimated that they were engaged in a "wild-goose chase."

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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

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