Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A smoked herring having a reddish color.
  • n. Something that draws attention away from the central issue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A smoke-cured and salt-brined herring strong enough to turn the flesh red; a type of kipper.
  • n. A clue or information that is or is intended to be misleading, that diverts attention from a question.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. the common herring dried and smoked.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a first draft of a prospectus; must be clearly marked to indicate that parts may be changed in the final prospectus
  • n. a dried and smoked herring having a reddish color
  • n. any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From its use to distract hunting dogs from the trail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Until 2008, the accepted etymology of the idiom was that red herring were used to train dogs to track scents. This has proven to be a false etymology.

Examples

    Sorry, no example sentences found.

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